A comparative genome analysis of the Bacillota (Firmicutes) class Dehalobacteriia

Young C. Song, Sophie I. Holland, Matthew Lee, Gao Chen, Frank E. Löffler, Michael J. Manefield, Philip Hugenholtz, Ulrike Kappler

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Dehalobacterium formicoaceticum is recognized for its ability to anaerobically ferment dichloromethane (DCM), and a catabolic model has recently been proposed. D. formicoaceticum is currently the only axenic representative of its class, the Dehalobacteriia, according to the Genome Taxonomy Database. However, substantial additional diversity has been revealed in this lineage through culture-independent exploration of anoxic habitats. Here we performed a comparative analysis of 10 members of the Dehalobacteriia, representing three orders, and infer that anaerobic DCM degradation appears to be a recently acquired trait only present in some members of the order Dehalobacteriales. Inferred traits common to the class include the use of amino acids as carbon and energy sources for growth, energy generation via a remarkable range of putative electron-bifurcating protein complexes and the presence of S-layers. The ability of D. formicoaceticum to grow on serine without DCM was experimentally confirmed and a high abundance of the electron-bifurcating protein complexes and S-layer proteins was noted when this organism was grown on DCM. We suggest that members of the Dehalobacteriia are low-abundance fermentative scavengers in anoxic habitats.
Original languageEnglish
Article number001039
JournalMicrobial Genomics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2023


  • Anaerobiosis
  • Carbon
  • Dehalobacteriia
  • Fermentation
  • Firmicutes
  • comparative genomics
  • dichloromethane degradation
  • metabolic reconstruction
  • proteome


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