Metagenomic recovery of two distinct comammox Nitrospira from the terrestrial subsurface

Lianna Poghosyan, Hanna Koch, Adi Lavy, Jeroen Frank, Maartje A.H.J. van Kessel, Mike S.M. Jetten, Jillian F. Banfield, Sebastian Lücker

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57 Citations (Scopus)


The recently discovered comammox process encompasses both nitrification steps, the aerobic oxidation of ammonia and nitrite, in a single organism. All known comammox bacteria are affiliated with Nitrospira sublineage II and can be grouped into two distinct clades, referred to as A and B, based on ammonia monooxygenase phylogeny. In this study, we report high-quality draft genomes of two novel comammox Nitrospira from the terrestrial subsurface, representing one clade A and one clade B comammox organism. The two metagenome-assembled genomes were compared with other representatives of Nitrospira sublineage II, including both canonical and comammox Nitrospira. Phylogenomic analyses confirmed the affiliation of the two novel Nitrospira with comammox clades A and B respectively. Based on phylogenetic distance and pairwise average nucleotide identity values, both comammox Nitrospira were classified as novel species. Genomic comparison revealed high conservation of key metabolic features in sublineage II Nitrospira, including respiratory complexes I–V and the machineries for nitrite oxidation and carbon fixation via the reductive tricarboxylic acid cycle. In addition, the presence of the enzymatic repertoire for formate and hydrogen oxidation in the Rifle clades A and B comammox genomes, respectively, suggest a broader distribution of these metabolic features than previously anticipated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3627-3637
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes

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