The distinction of CPR bacteria from other bacteria based on protein family content

Raphaël Méheust, David Burstein, Cindy J. Castelle, Jillian F. Banfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Candidate phyla radiation (CPR) bacteria separate phylogenetically from other bacteria, but the organismal distribution of their protein families remains unclear. Here, we leveraged sequences from thousands of uncultivated organisms and identified protein families that co-occur in genomes, thus are likely foundational for lineage capacities. Protein family presence/absence patterns cluster CPR bacteria together, and away from all other bacteria and archaea, partly due to proteins without recognizable homology to proteins in other bacteria. Some are likely involved in cell-cell interactions and potentially important for episymbiotic lifestyles. The diversity of protein family combinations in CPR may exceed that of all other bacteria. Over the bacterial tree, protein family presence/absence patterns broadly recapitulate phylogenetic structure, suggesting persistence of core sets of proteins since lineage divergence. The CPR could have arisen in an episode of dramatic but heterogeneous genome reduction or from a protogenote community and co-evolved with other bacteria.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4173
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


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