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Genomic evidence for the wide-spread presence of lignocellulases among soil invertebrates
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  • Hannah Muelbaier,
  • Freya Arthen,
  • Gemma Collins,
  • Thomas Hickler,
  • Karin Hohberg,
  • Ricarda Lehmitz,
  • Yannick Pauchet,
  • Markus Pfenninger,
  • Anton Potapov,
  • Juliane Romahn,
  • Ina Schaefer,
  • Stefan Scheu,
  • Clement Schneider,
  • Ingo Ebersberger,
  • Miklós Bálint
Hannah Muelbaier
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Freya Arthen
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Gemma Collins
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Thomas Hickler
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Karin Hohberg
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Ricarda Lehmitz
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Yannick Pauchet
Max-Planck-Institute for Chemical Ecology
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Markus Pfenninger
Senckenberg Biodiversität & Klima Forschungszentrum
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Anton Potapov
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Juliane Romahn
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Ina Schaefer
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Stefan Scheu
University of Goettingen
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Clement Schneider
Senckenberg Gesellschaft fur Naturforschung
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Ingo Ebersberger
Goethe University
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Miklós Bálint
Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Lignocellulose is a major component of plant biomass. Its decomposition is crucial for the terrestrial carbon cycle. Microorganisms are considered as primary decomposers and evidence increases that some invertebrates may also decompose lignocellulose. We investigated the taxonomic distribution and evolutionary origins of GH45 cellulases in a collection of soil invertebrate genomes and found that these genes are common in springtails and oribatid mites. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that cellulase genes were acquired early in the evolutionary history of these groups. Domain architectures and predicted 3D enzyme structures indicate that these cellulases are functional. Patterns of presence and absence of these genes across different lineages prompt further investigation into their evolutionary and ecological benefits. The ubiquity of cellulase genes suggests that soil invertebrates may play a role in lignocellulose decomposition, independently from microorganisms. Understanding the ecological and evolutionary implications might be crucial for understanding soil food webs and the carbon cycle.
05 Sep 2023Submitted to Molecular Ecology
06 Sep 2023Assigned to Editor
06 Sep 2023Submission Checks Completed
06 Sep 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
17 Sep 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
30 Oct 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Minor