Genomic Characterization of Two Novel SAR11 Isolates From the Red Sea, Including the First Strain of the SAR11 Ib clade

F. Jimenez-Infante, D.K Ngugi, M. Vinu, J. Blom, I. Alam, V.B Bajic, U. Stingl
FEMS Microbiol Ecol fix083, (2017)


Dilution-to-extinction cultivation, marine bacteria, Pelagibacterales, Red Sea, SAR11, SAR 11 ecotypes


​The SAR11 clade (Pelagibacterales) is a diverse group that forms a monophyletic clade within the Alphaproteobacteria, and constitutes up to one third of all prokaryotic cells in the photic zone of most oceans. Pelagibacterales are very abundant in the warm and highly saline surface waters of the Red Sea, raising the question of adaptive traits of SAR11 populations in this water body and warmer oceans through the world. In this study, two pure cultures were successfully obtained from surface waters on the Red Sea, one isolate of subgroup Ia and one of the previously uncultured SAR11 Ib lineage. The novel genomes were very similar to each other and to genomes of isolates of SAR11 subgroup Ia (Ia pan-genome), both in terms of gene content and synteny. Among the genes that were not present in the Ia pan-genome, 108 (RS39, Ia) and 151 genes (RS40, Ib) were strain-specific. Detailed analyses showed that only 51 (RS39, Ia) and 55 (RS40, Ib) of these strain-specific genes had not reported before on genome fragments of Pelagibacterales. Further analyses revealed the potential production of phosphonates by some SAR11 members and possible adaptations for oligotrophic life, including pentose sugar utilization and adhesion to marine particulate matter.