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In situ detection of novel Acidobacteria in microbial mats from a chemolithoautotrophically based cave ecosystem (Lower Kane Cave, WY, USA)

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Lower Kane Cave, Wyoming (USA), has hydrogen sulfide-bearing springs that discharge into the cave passage. The springs and cave stream harbour white filamentous microbial mats dominated by Epsilonproteobacteria. Recently, novel 16S rRNA gene sequences from the phylum Acidobacteria, subgroup 7, were found in these cave mats. Although Acidobacteria are ubiquitously distributed in many terrestrial and marine habitats, little is known about their ecophysiology. To investigate this group in Lower Kane Cave in more detail, a full-cycle rRNA approach was applied based on 16S and 23S rRNA gene clone libraries and the application of novel probes for fluorescence in situ hybridization. The 16S and 23S rRNA gene clone libraries yielded seven and six novel acidobacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs) respectively. The majority of the OTUs were affiliated with subgroups 7 and 8. One OTU was affiliated with subgroup 6, and one OTU could not be assigned to any of the present acidobacterial subgroups. Fluorescence in situ hybridization distinguished two morphologically distinct, rod-shaped cells of the acidobacterial subgroups 7 and 8. Although the ecophysiology of Acidobacteria from Lower Kane Cave will not be fully resolved until cultures are obtained, acidobacterial cells were always associated with the potentially chemolithoautotrophic epsilon- or gammaproteobacterial filaments, suggesting perhaps a lifestyle based on heterotrophy or chemoorganotrophy.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Microbial Systems Ecology Division, Department of Microbiology, Technische Universität München, D-85350 Freising, Germany. 2: Institute of Botany, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, D-80638 München, Germany. 3: Department of Plant-Microbe Interactions, GSF-National Research Center for Environment and Health, D-85764, Germany. 4: Department of Geological Sciences, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA. 5: Department of Geology and Geophysics, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA.

Publication date: 01 June 2007

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