Metagenomic analysis reveals a green sulfur bacterium as a potential coral symbiont

Lin Cai, Guowei Zhou, Ren Mao Tian, Haoya Tong, Weipeng Zhang, Jin Sun, Wei Ding, Yue Him Wong, James Y. Xie, Jianwen QIU, Sheng Liu, Hui Huang*, Pei Yuan Qian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Coral reefs are ecologically significant habitats. Coral-algal symbiosis confers ecological success on coral reefs and coral-microbial symbiosis is also vital to coral reefs. However, current understanding of coral-microbial symbiosis on a genomic scale is largely unknown. Here we report a potential microbial symbiont in corals revealed by metagenomics-based genomic study. Microbial cells in coral were enriched for metagenomic analysis and a high-quality draft genome of "Candidatus Prosthecochloris korallensis" was recovered by metagenome assembly and genome binning. Phylogenetic analysis shows "Ca. P. korallensis" belongs to the Prosthecochloris clade and is clustered with two Prosthecochloris clones derived from Caribbean corals. Genomic analysis reveals "Ca. P. korallensis" has potentially important ecological functions including anoxygenic photosynthesis, carbon fixation via the reductive tricarboxylic acid (rTCA) cycle, nitrogen fixation, and sulfur oxidization. Core metabolic pathway analysis suggests "Ca. P. korallensis" is a green sulfur bacterium capable of photoautotrophy or mixotrophy. Potential host-microbial interaction reveals a symbiotic relationship: "Ca. P. korallensis" might provide organic and nitrogenous nutrients to its host and detoxify sulfide for the host; the host might provide "Ca. P. korallensis" with an anaerobic environment for survival, carbon dioxide and acetate for growth, and hydrogen sulfide as an electron donor for photosynthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9320
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

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