Several recent studies have indicated that members of the phylum Planctomycetes are abundantly present at the brine-seawater interface (BSI) above multiple brine pools in the Red Sea. Planctomycetes include bacteria capable of anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox). Here, we investigated the possibility of anammox at BSI sites using metagenomic shotgun sequencing of DNA obtained from the BSI above the Discovery Deep brine pool. Analysis of sequencing reads matching the 16S rRNA and hzsA genes confirmed presence of anammox bacteria of the genus Scalindua. Phylogenetic analysis of the 16S rRNA gene indicated that this Scalindua sp. belongs to a distinct group, separate from the anammox bacteria in the seawater column, that contains mostly sequences retrieved from high-salt environments. Using coverage- and composition-based binning, we extracted and assembled the draft genome of the dominant anammox bacterium. Comparative genomic analysis indicated that this Scalindua species uses compatible solutes for osmoadaptation, in contrast to other marine anammox bacteria that likely use a salt-in strategy. We propose the name Candidatus Scalindua rubra for this novel species, alluding to its discovery in the Red Sea.
Keywords: Anammox; Genome binning; Metagenomics; Red Sea; Salt adaptation; Scalindua.