RESULTS: Genome-based taxonomic classification revealed the microbial richness present in the pristine Madison aquifer. The strains were found to span eleven genera and fourteen species, of which eight had uncertain taxonomic classifications. The genomes of strains SD129 and SD340 were found to contain the archetypical AHL QS system composed of two genes, luxI and luxR. Surprisingly, the genomes of strains SD115, SD129, SD274 and SD316 were found to contain one to three luxR orphans (solos). Strain SD129, besides possessing an archetypical AHL QS luxI-luxR pair, also contained two luxR solos, while strain SD316 contained three LuxR solos and no luxI-luxR pairs. The ligand-binding domain of two LuxR solos, one each from strains SD129 and SD316, were found to contain novel substitutions not previously reported, thus may represent two LuxR orphans that detection and response to unknown self-produced signal(s), or to signal(s) produced by other organisms.
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