Genomic and Functional Variation of the Chlorophyll d-Producing Cyanobacterium Acaryochloris marina

Scott R. Miller, Heidi E. Abresch, Jacob J. Baroch, Caleb K.Fishman Miller, Arkadiy I. Garber, Andrew R. Oman, Nikea J. Ulrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The Chlorophyll d-producing cyanobacterium Acaryochloris marina is widely distributed in marine environments enriched in far-red light, but our understanding of its genomic and functional diversity is limited. Here, we take an integrative approach to investigate A. marina diversity for 37 strains, which includes twelve newly isolated strains from previously unsampled locations in Europe and the Pacific Northwest of North America. A genome-wide phylogeny revealed both that closely related A. marina have migrated within geographic regions and that distantly related A. marina lineages can co-occur. The distribution of traits mapped onto the phylogeny provided evidence of a dynamic evolutionary history of gene gain and loss during A. marina diversification. Ancestral genes that were differentially retained or lost by strains include plasmid-encoded sodiumtransporting ATPase and bidirectional NiFe-hydrogenase genes that may be involved in salt tolerance and redox balance under fermentative conditions, respectively. The acquisition of genes by horizontal transfer has also played an important role in the evolution of new functions, such as nitrogen fixation. Together, our results resolve examples in which genome content and ecotypic variation for nutrient metabolism and environmental tolerance have diversified during the evolutionary history of this unusual photosynthetic bacterium.

Original languageEnglish
Article number569
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022


Funding: This work was supported by award NNA15BB04A from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to S.R.M.

FundersFunder number
National Aeronautics and Space Administration


    • Acaryochloris
    • Chlorophyll
    • Cyanobacteria
    • Far-red photosynthesis
    • Genomics
    • Horizontal gene transfer
    • Plasmid


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