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Microbial sulfur cycle in two hydrothermal chimneys on the Southwest Indian Ridge.

ABSTRACT: UNLABELLED:Sulfur is an important element in sustaining microbial communities present in hydrothermal vents. Sulfur oxidation has been extensively studied due to its importance in chemosynthetic pathways in hydrothermal fields; however, less is known about sulfate reduction. Here, the metagenomes of hydrothermal chimneys located on the ultraslow-spreading Southwest Indian Ridge (SWIR) were pyrosequenced to elucidate the associated microbial sulfur cycle. A taxonomic summary of known genes revealed a few dominant bacteria that participated in the microbial sulfur cycle, particularly sulfate-reducing Deltaproteobacteria. The metagenomes studied contained highly abundant genes related to sulfur oxidation and reduction. Several carbon metabolic pathways, in particular the Calvin-Benson-Bassham pathway and the reductive tricarboxylic acid cycles for CO2 fixation, were identified in sulfur-oxidizing autotrophic bacteria. In contrast, highly abundant genes related to the oxidation of short-chain alkanes were grouped with sulfate-reducing bacteria, suggesting an important role for short-chain alkanes in the sulfur cycle. Furthermore, sulfur-oxidizing bacteria were associated with enrichment for genes involved in the denitrification pathway, while sulfate-reducing bacteria displayed enrichment for genes responsible for hydrogen utilization. In conclusion, this study provides insights regarding major microbial metabolic activities that are driven by the sulfur cycle in low-temperature hydrothermal chimneys present on an ultraslow midocean ridge. IMPORTANCE:There have been limited studies on chimney sulfides located at ultraslow-spreading ridges. The analysis of metagenomes of hydrothermal chimneys on the ultraslow-spreading Southwest Indian Ridge suggests the presence of a microbial sulfur cycle. The sulfur cycle should be centralized within a microbial community that displays enrichment for sulfur metabolism-related genes. The present study elucidated a significant role of the microbial sulfur cycle in sustaining an entire microbial community in low-temperature hydrothermal chimneys on an ultraslow spreading midocean ridge, which has characteristics distinct from those of other types of hydrothermal fields.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3903282 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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