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American Society for Microbiology

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Acetogens are anaerobic bacteria capable of fixing CO2 or CO to produce acetyl coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA) and ultimately acetate using the Wood-Ljungdahl pathway (WLP). Acetobacterium woodii is the type strain of the Acetobacterium genus and has been critical for understanding the biochemistry and energy conservation in acetogens. Members of the Acetobacterium genus have been isolated from a variety of environments or have had genomes recovered from metagenome data, but no systematic investigation has been done on the unique and various metabolisms of the genus. To gain a better appreciation for the metabolic breadth of the genus, we sequenced the genomes of 4 isolates (A. fimetarium, A. malicum, A. paludosum, and A. tundrae) and conducted a comparative genome analysis (pan-genome) of 11 different Acetobacterium genomes. A unifying feature of the Acetobacterium genus is the carbon-fixing WLP. The methyl (cluster II) and carbonyl (cluster III) branches of the Wood-Ljungdahl pathway are highly conserved across all sequenced Acetobacterium genomes, but cluster I encoding the formate dehydrogenase is not. In contrast to A. woodii, all but four strains encode two distinct Rnf clusters, Rnf being the primary respiratory enzyme complex. Metabolism of fructose, lactate, and H2:CO2 was conserved across the genus, but metabolism of ethanol, methanol, caffeate, and 2,3-butanediol varied. Additionally, clade-specific metabolic potential was observed, such as amino acid transport and metabolism in the psychrophilic species, and biofilm formation in the A. wieringae clade, which may afford these groups an advantage in low-temperature growth or attachment to solid surfaces, respectively.


Accepted version. mSystems, Vol. 5, No. 5 (September 2020): e00277-20. DOI. © 2020 American Society for Microbiology Journals. Used with permission.

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