Abyssivirga alkaniphila strain L81T, recently isolated from a black smoker biofilm at the Loki’s Castle hydrothermal vent field, was previously described as a mesophilic, obligately anaerobic heterotroph able to ferment carbohydrates, peptides, and aliphatic hydrocarbons. The strain was classified as a new genus within the family Lachnospiraceae. Herein, its genome is analyzed and A. alkaniphila is reassigned to the genus Vallitalea as a new strain of V. guaymasensis, designated V. guaymasensis strain L81. The 6.4 Mbp genome contained 5651 protein encoding genes, whereof 4043 were given a functional prediction. Pathways for fermentation of mono-saccharides, di-saccharides, peptides, and amino acids were identified whereas a complete pathway for the fermentation of n-alkanes was not found. Growth on carbohydrates and proteinous compounds supported methane production in co-cultures with Methanoplanus limicola. Multiple confurcating hydrogen-producing hydrogenases, a putative bifurcating electron-transferring flavoprotein—butyryl-CoA dehydrogenase complex, and a Rnf-complex form a basis for the observed hydrogen-production and a putative reverse electron-transport in V. guaymasensis strain L81. Combined with the observation that n-alkanes did not support growth in co-cultures with M. limicola, it seemed more plausible that the previously observed degradation patterns of crude-oil in strain L81 are explained by unspecific activation and may represent a detoxification mechanism, representing an interesting ecological function. Genes encoding a capacity for polyketide synthesis, prophages, and resistance to antibiotics shows interactions with the co-occurring microorganisms. This study enlightens the function of the fermentative microorganisms from hydrothermal vents systems and adds valuable information on the bioprospecting potential emerging in deep-sea hydrothermal systems.
Keywords: Vallitalea guaymasensis; hydrothermal vent; syntrophy; whole-genome sequence.