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Life 2015, 5(2), 1381-1395; doi:10.3390/life5021381

Altiarchaeales”: Uncultivated Archaea from the Subsurface

1
Department of Earth and Planetary Science, University of California, Berkeley, 307 McCone Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
2
Interactive Microbiome Research, Section of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Medical University Graz, Graz 8036, Austria
3
BioTechMed, Krenngasse 37, Graz 8010, Austria
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Roger A. Garrett, Hans-Peter Klenk and Michael W. W. Adams
Received: 30 March 2015 / Revised: 1 May 2015 / Accepted: 5 May 2015 / Published: 12 May 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Archaea: Evolution, Physiology, and Molecular Biology)
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Abstract

Due to the limited cultivability of the vast majority of microorganisms, researchers have applied environmental genomics and other state-of-the-art technologies to gain insights into the biology of uncultivated Archaea and bacteria in their natural biotope. In this review, we summarize the scientific findings on a recently proposed order-level lineage of uncultivated Archaea called Altiarchaeales, which includes “Candidatus Altiarchaeum hamiconexum” as the most well-described representative. Ca. A. hamiconexum possesses a complex biology: thriving strictly anaerobically, this microorganism is capable of forming highly-pure biofilms, connecting the cells by extraordinary cell surface appendages (the “hami”) and has other highly unusual traits, such as a double-membrane-based cell wall. Indicated by genomic information from different biotopes, the Altiarchaeales seem to proliferate in deep, anoxic groundwater of Earth’s crust bearing a potentially very important function: carbon fixation. Although their net carbon fixation rate has not yet been determined, they appear as highly abundant organisms in their biotopes and may thus represent an important primary producer in the subsurface. In sum, the research over more than a decade on Ca. A. hamiconexum has revealed many interesting features of its lifestyle, its genomic information, metabolism and ultrastructure, making this archaeon one of the best-studied uncultivated Archaea in the literature. View Full-Text
Keywords: Archaea; subsurface; uncultivated; hami; sulfidic springs Archaea; subsurface; uncultivated; hami; sulfidic springs
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Probst, A.J.; Moissl-Eichinger, C. “Altiarchaeales”: Uncultivated Archaea from the Subsurface. Life 2015, 5, 1381-1395.

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