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script and participated in the analysis and drafting of the manuscript. XM participated in the analysis and AB in the analysis and drafting of the manuscript. EOC coordinated the study, as well as participated in writing the manuscript. JMG conceived the study, and participated in its design and coordination. JMG was also involved in the analysis and interpretation of results and drafting of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.”
“Background Bacteria belonging to the phylum Planctomycetes
have revealed several remarkable features that set them apart from other bacteria. Their cryptic morphology led early microbiologists to mistake them for fungi, and the discovery of their cell compartmentalization, featuring membrane bounded Resminostat organelles, raised fundamental questions about the evolution of eukaryotes [1, 2]. Further, the unique anammox metabolism found in some planctomycetes has revolutionized the view of microbial nitrogen cycling . The planctomycetes also possess cell walls without peptidoglycan, a characteristic that they share only with the obligate intracellular bacteria within Chlamydiae. In addition to the interest sparked by these unusual and fascinating features, planctomycetes have in later years attracted considerable attention because of their presence in a wide variety of environments on earth. By investigating bacterial communities using molecular methods (sequences coding for 16S rRNA), planctomycetes have been repeatedly detected in soil, sediments, marine and freshwater systems and in terrestrial hot springs to mention just a few (for a detailed review see ). However, their metabolic potential and function in these ecosystems is often unclear, as 16S rRNA gene sequence investigations only rarely give clues to ecological roles.