Globally Abundant “Candidatus Udaeobacter” Benefits from Release of Antibiotics in Soil and Potentially Performs Trace Gas Scavenging
Willms, Inka M. ; Rudolph, Anina Y. ; Göschel, Isabell ; Bolz, Simon H. ; Schneider, Dominik ; Penone, Caterina ; Poehlein, Anja ; Schöning, Ingo et al.
Citable Link (URL):http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl?gs-1/17480
Verrucomicrobia affiliated with “Candidatus Udaeobacter” belong to the most abundant soil bacteria worldwide. Although the synthesis of antibiotics presumably evolved in soil, and environmental pollution with antimicrobials increases, the impact of these complex molecules on “Ca. Udaeobacter” remains to be elucidated. In this study, we demonstrate that “Ca. Udaeobacter” representatives residing in grassland as well as forest soil ecosystems show multidrug resistance and even take advantage of antibiotics release. Soils treated with up to six different antibiotics exhibited a higher “Ca. Udaeobacter” abundance than corresponding controls after 3, 8, and 20 days of incubation. In this context, we provide evidence that “Ca. Udaeobacter” representatives may utilize nutrients which are released due to antibiotic-driven lysis of other soil microbes and thereby reduce energetically expensive synthesis of required biomolecules. Moreover, genomic analysis revealed the presence of genes conferring resistance to multiple classes of antibiotics and indicated that “Ca. Udaeobacter” representatives most likely oxidize the trace gas H$_2$ to generate energy. This energy might be required for long-term persistence in terrestrial habitats, as already suggested for other dominant soil bacteria. Our study illustrates, for the first time, that globally abundant “Ca. Udaeobacter” benefits from release of antibiotics, which confers advantages over other soil bacteria and represents a so-far overlooked fundamental lifestyle feature of this poorly characterized verrucomicrobial genus. Furthermore, our study suggests that “Ca. Udaeobacter” representatives can utilize H$_2$ as an alternative electron donor. IMPORTANCE Soil bacteria have been investigated for more than a century, but one of the most dominant terrestrial groups on Earth, “Candidatus Udaeobacter,” remains elusive and largely unexplored. Its natural habitat is considered a major reservoir of antibiotics, which directly or indirectly impact phylogenetically diverse microorganisms. Here, we found that “Ca. Udaeobacter” representatives exhibit multidrug resistance and not only evade harmful effects of antimicrobials but even benefit from antibiotic pressure in soil. Therefore, “Ca. Udaeobacter” evidently affects the composition of soil resistomes worldwide and might represent a winner of rising environmental pollution with antimicrobials. In addition, our study indicates that “Ca. Udaeobacter” representatives utilize H$_2$ and thereby contribute to global hydrogen cycling. The here-reported findings provide insights into elementary lifestyle features of “Ca. Udaeobacter,” potentially contributing to its successful global dissemination.
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