Ubiquity and Functional Uniformity in CO2 Concentrating Mechanisms in Multiple Phyla of Bacteria is Suggested by a Diversity and Prevalence of Genes Encoding Candidate Dissolved Inorganic Carbon Transporters

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CO2 concentrating mechanism, autotroph, carbon fixation, carboxysome

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Autotrophic microorganisms catalyze the entry of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC; = CO2 + HCO3− + CO32−) into the biological component of the global carbon cycle, despite dramatic differences in DIC abundance and composition in their sometimes extreme environments. “Cyanobacteria” are known to have CO2 concentrating mechanisms (CCMs) to facilitate growth under low CO2 conditions. These CCMs consist of carboxysomes, containing enzymes ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate oxygenase and carbonic anhydrase, partnered to DIC transporters. CCMs and their DIC transporters have been studied in a handful of other prokaryotes, but it was not known how common CCMs were beyond “Cyanobacteria”. Since it had previously been noted that genes encoding potential transporters were found neighboring carboxysome loci, α-carboxysome loci were gathered from bacterial genomes, and potential transporter genes neighboring these loci are described here. Members of transporter families whose members all transport DIC (CHC, MDT and Sbt) were common in these neighborhoods, as were members of the SulP transporter family, many of which transport DIC. 109 of 115 taxa with carboxysome loci have some form of DIC transporter encoded in their genomes, suggesting that CCMs consisting of carboxysomes and DIC transporters are widespread not only among “Cyanobacteria”, but also among members of “Proteobacteria” and “Actinobacteria”.

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Microbiology Letters, v. 367, issue 13, art. fnaa106