Metagenomics of Atacama lithobiontic extremophile life unveils highlights on fungal communities, biogeochemical cycles and carbohydrate-active enzymes

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Gómez-Silva, Benito
Vilo-Muñoz, Claudia
Galetović, Alexandra
Dong, Qunfeng
Castelán-Sánchez, Hugo G.
Pérez-Llano, Yordanis
Sánchez-Carbente, María del Rayo
Dávila-Ramos, Sonia
Cortés-López, Nohemí Gabriela
Martínez-Ávila, Liliana
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Halites, which are typically found in various Atacama locations, are evaporitic rocks that are considered as micro-scaled salterns. Both structural and functional metagenomic analyses of halite nodules were performed. Structural analyses indicated that the halite microbiota is mainly composed of NaCl-adapted microorganisms. In addition, halites appear to harbor a limited diversity of fungal families together with a biodiverse collection of protozoa. Functional analysis indicated that the halite microbiome possesses the capacity to make an extensive contribution to carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur cycles, but possess a limited capacity to fix nitrogen. The halite metagenome also contains a vast repertory of carbohydrate active enzymes (CAZY) with glycosyl transferases being the most abundant class present, followed by glycosyl hydrolases (GH). Amylases were also present in high abundance, with GH also being identified. Thus, the halite microbiota is a potential useful source of novel enzymes that could have biotechnological applicability. This is the first metagenomic report of fungi and protozoa as endolithobionts of halite nodules, as well as the first attempt to describe the repertoire of CAZY in this community. In addition, we present a comprehensive functional metagenomic analysis of the metabolic capacities of the halite microbiota, providing evidence for the first time on the sulfur cycle in Atacama halites.
Atacame Desert , Halite , Functional metagenomics , Endolithic fungi , CAZyme
Gómez-Silva, B., Vilo-Muñoz, C., Galetović, A., Dong, Q., Castelán-Sánchez, H. G., Pérez-Llano, Y., Sánchez-Carbente, M. d. R., Dávila-Ramos, S., Cortés-López, N. G., Martínez-Ávila, L., Dobson, A. D. W. and Batista-García, R. A. (2019) 'Metagenomics of Atacama Lithobiontic Extremophile Life Unveils Highlights on Fungal Communities, Biogeochemical Cycles and Carbohydrate-Active Enzymes', Microorganisms, 7(12), 619 (25pp). doi: 10.3390/microorganisms7120619