Bradymonabacteria, a novel bacterial predator group with versatile survival strategies in saline environments
Background: Bacterial predation is an important selective force in microbial community structure and dynamics. However, only a limited number of predatory bacteria have been reported, and their predatory strategies and evolutionary adaptations remain elusive. We recently isolated a novel group of bacterial predators, Bradymonabacteria, representative of the novel order Bradymonadales in δ-Proteobacteria. Compared with those of other bacterial predators (e.g., Myxococcales and
... Bdellovibrionales), the predatory and living strategies of Bradymonadales are still largely unknown.Results: Based on individual coculture of Bradymonabacteria with 281 prey bacteria, Bradymonabacteria preyed on diverse bacteria but had a high preference for Bacteroidetes. Genomic analysis of 13 recently sequenced Bradymonabacteria indicated that these bacteria had conspicuous metabolic deficiencies, but they could synthesize many polymers, such as polyphosphate and polyhydroxyalkanoates. Dual-transcriptome analysis of cocultures of Bradymonabacteria and prey suggested a potential contact-dependent predation mechanism. Comparative genomic analysis with 24 other bacterial predators indicated that Bradymonabacteria had different predatory and living strategies. Furthermore, we identified Bradymonadales from 1552 publicly available 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing samples, indicating that Bradymonadales was widely distributed and highly abundant in saline environments. Phylogenetic analysis showed that there may be six subgroups in this order; each subgroup occupied a different habitat.Conclusions: Bradymonabacteria have unique living strategies that are transitional between the "obligate" and the so-called "facultative" predators. Thus, we propose a framework to categorize the current bacterial predators into 3 groups: (i) obligate predators (completely prey-dependent), (ii) facultative predators (facultatively prey-dependent), and (iii) opportunistic predators (prey-independent). Our findings provide an ecological and evolutionary framework for Bradymonadales and highlight their potential ecological roles in saline environments.