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Uncovering Photolyase/Cryptochrome Genes Diversity in Aquatic Microbiomes Exposed to Diverse UV-B Regimes

Daniel G. Alonso-Reyes, Maria Eugenia Farias, Virginia Helena AlbarracĂ­n*

*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: During evolution, microorganisms exposed to high UV-B doses developed a fine-tuned photo-enzymes called “photolyases” to cope with DNA damage by UV-B. These photoreceptors belonging to the Cryptochrome/Photolyase Family (CPF) were well characterized at the genomic and proteomic level in bacteria isolated from a wide range of environments. In this work, we go further towards studying the abundance of CPF on aquatic microbial communities from different geographic regions across the globe. Metagenomics data combined with geo-referenced solar irradiation measurements indicated that the higher the UV-B dose suffered by the microbiome's environment, the higher the abundance of CPF genes and lower the microbial diversity. A connection between CPF abundance and radiation intensity/photoperiod was reported. Likewise, cryptochrome-like genes were found abundant in most exposed microbiomes, indicating a complementary role to standard photolyases. Also, we observed that CPFs are more likely present in dominant taxa of the highly irradiated microbiomes, suggesting an evolutionary force for survival and dominance under extreme solar exposure. Finally, this work reported three novel CPF clades not identified so far, proving the potential of global metagenomic analyses in detecting novel proteins.