Publication in Microbiome

Global contribution of pelagic fungi to protein degradation in the ocean

We found that pelagic fungi are active contributors to protein degradation and nitrogen cycling in the global ocean. Dothideomycetes are the main fungi responsible for protease activity in the surface layers, whereas Leotiomycetes dominate in the mesopelagic realm. Gene abundance, diversity, and expression increased with increasing depth, similar to fungal CAZymes. This contrasts with the total occurrence of prokaryotic peptidases and CAZymes which are more uniformly distributed in the oceanic water column, suggesting potentially different ecological niches of fungi and prokaryotes. In-depth analysis of the most widely expressed fungal protease revealed the potentially dominating role of saprotrophic nutrition in the oceans.

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