Genomic Insights into the Carbon and Energy Metabolism of a Thermophilic Deep-Sea Bacterium Deferribacter autotrophicus Revealed New Metabolic Traits in the Phylum Deferribacteres

Genes (Basel). 2019 Oct 26;10(11):849. doi: 10.3390/genes10110849.


Information on the biochemical pathways of carbon and energy metabolism in representatives of the deep lineage bacterial phylum Deferribacteres are scarce. Here, we report the results of the sequencing and analysis of the high-quality draft genome of the thermophilic chemolithoautotrophic anaerobe Deferribacter autotrophicus. Genomic data suggest that CO2 assimilation is carried out by recently proposed reversible tricarboxylic acid cycle ("roTCA cycle"). The predicted genomic ability of D. autotrophicus to grow due to the oxidation of carbon monoxide was experimentally proven. CO oxidation was coupled with the reduction of nitrate to ammonium. Utilization of CO most likely involves anaerobic [Ni, Fe]-containing CO dehydrogenase. This is the first evidence of CO oxidation in the phylum Deferribacteres. The genome of D. autotrophicus encodes a Nap-type complex of nitrate reduction. However, the conversion of produced nitrite to ammonium proceeds via a non-canonical pathway with the participation of hydroxylamine oxidoreductase (Hao) and hydroxylamine reductase. The genome contains 17 genes of putative multiheme c-type cytochromes and "e-pilin" genes, some of which are probably involved in Fe(III) reduction. Genomic analysis indicates that the roTCA cycle of CO2 fixation and putative Hao-enabled ammonification may occur in several members of the phylum Deferribacteres.

Keywords: CO oxidation; Fe(III)-reduction; autotrophic; nitrate reduction; roTCA cycle; thermophile.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aldehyde Oxidoreductases / genetics
  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Carbon / metabolism
  • Citric Acid Cycle
  • Cytochromes c / genetics
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Fimbriae Proteins / genetics
  • Genes, Bacterial*
  • Iron / metabolism
  • Multienzyme Complexes / genetics
  • Nitrates / metabolism
  • Oxidoreductases / genetics
  • Phylogeny


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Multienzyme Complexes
  • Nitrates
  • Fimbriae Proteins
  • Carbon
  • Cytochromes c
  • Iron
  • Oxidoreductases
  • Aldehyde Oxidoreductases
  • carbon monoxide dehydrogenase
  • hydroxylamine dehydrogenase

Supplementary concepts

  • Deferribacter autotrophicus