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Metatranscriptomics reveals the hydrolytic potential of peat-inhabiting Planctomycetes


Members of the phylum Planctomycetes are common inhabitants of northern Sphagnum-dominated wetlands. Evidence is accumulating that, in these environments, some planctomycetes may be involved in degrading polymeric organic matter. The experimental data, however, remain scarce due to the low number of characterized representatives of this phylum. In a previous study, we used metatranscriptomics to assess the activity response of peat-inhabiting microorganisms to biopolymers abundantly present in native peat. The community responses to cellulose, xylan, pectin, and chitin availability were analysed relative to unamended controls. Here, we re-analysed these metatranscriptomes and retrieved a total of 1,602,783 rRNA and 35,522 mRNA sequences affiliated with the Planctomycetes. Each of the four polymers induced specific planctomycete responses. These were most pronounced on chitin. The two groups with increased 16S rRNA transcript pools were Gemmata- and Phycisphaera-like planctomycetes. Among uncultivated members of the Planctomycetaceae, two increased transcript pools were detected in pectin-amended samples and belonged to Pirellula-like bacteria. The analysis of taxonomically assigned mRNA reads confirmed the specific response of Gemmata-related planctomycetes to chitin amendment suggesting the presence of chitinolytic capabilities in these bacteria.

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This study was supported by the Program “Molecular and cell biology” of RAS and by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) through Collaborative Research Center SFB 987. A.I. was also supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (Project No. 16-34-00002).

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Correspondence to Svetlana N. Dedysh.

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Ivanova, A.A., Wegner, CE., Kim, Y. et al. Metatranscriptomics reveals the hydrolytic potential of peat-inhabiting Planctomycetes . Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 111, 801–809 (2018).

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  • Planctomycetes
  • Acidic peatlands
  • Metatranscriptome
  • Hydrolytic potential
  • SSU rRNA