Metabolic relationships of uncultured bacteria associated with the microalgae Gambierdiscus
Microbial communities inhabit algae cell surfaces and produce a variety of compounds that can impact the fitness of the host. These interactions have been studied via culturing, single‐gene diversity, and metagenomic read survey methods that are limited by culturing biases and fragmented genetic characterizations. Higher‐resolution frameworks are needed to resolve the physiological interactions within these algal‐bacterial communities. Here, we infer the encoded metabolic capabilities of four uncultured bacterial genomes (reconstructed using metagenomic assembly and binning) associated with the marine dinoflagellates Gambierdiscus carolinianus and G. caribaeus. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that two of the genomes belong to the commonly algae‐associated families Rhodobacteraceae and Flavobacteriaceae. The other two genomes belong to the Phycisphaeraceae and include the first algae‐associated representative within the uncultured SM1A02 group. Analyses of all four genomes suggest these bacteria are facultative aerobes, with some capable of metabolizing phytoplanktonic organosulfur compounds including dimethylsulfoniopropionate and sulfated polysaccharides. These communities may biosynthesize compounds beneficial to both the algal host and other bacteria, including iron chelators, B vitamins, methionine, lycopene, squalene, and polyketides. These findings have implications for marine carbon and nutrient cycling and provide a greater depth of understanding regarding the genetic potential for complex physiological interactions between microalgae and their associated bacteria.