Editor: Gary King
Deep-sea vent chemoautotrophs: diversity, biochemistry and ecological significance
Article first published online: 28 JUN 2008
© 2008 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved
FEMS Microbiology Ecology
Volume 65, Issue 1, pages 1–14, July 2008
How to Cite
Nakagawa, S. and Takai, K. (2008), Deep-sea vent chemoautotrophs: diversity, biochemistry and ecological significance. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 65: 1–14. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2008.00502.x
- Issue published online: 28 JUN 2008
- Article first published online: 28 JUN 2008
- Received 26 January 2008; revised 4 April 2008; accepted 10 April 2008.First published online 22 May 2008.
- deep-sea vents;
- carbon fixation;
- energy metabolism
Deep-sea vents support productive ecosystems driven primarily by chemoautotrophs. Chemoautotrophs are organisms that are able to fix inorganic carbon using a chemical energy obtained through the oxidation of reduced compounds. Following the discovery of deep-sea vent ecosystems in 1977, there has been an increasing knowledge that deep-sea vent chemoautotrophs display remarkable physiological and phylogenetic diversity. Cultivation-dependent and -independent studies have led to an emerging view that the majority of deep-sea vent chemoautotrophs have the ability to derive energy from a variety of redox couples other than the conventional sulfur–oxygen couple, and fix inorganic carbon via the reductive tricarboxylic acid cycle. In addition, recent genomic, metagenomic and postgenomic studies have considerably accelerated the comprehensive understanding of molecular mechanisms of deep-sea vent chemoautotrophy, even in yet uncultivable endosymbionts of vent fauna. Genomic analysis also suggested that there are previously unrecognized evolutionary links between deep-sea vent chemoautotrophs and important human/animal pathogens. This review summarizes chemoautotrophy in deep-sea vents, highlighting recent biochemical and genomic discoveries.