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Micrarchaeota is a distinctive lineage assigned to the DPANN archaea, which includes poorly characterised microorganisms with reduced genomes that likely depend on interactions with hosts for growth and survival. Here, we report the enrichment of a stable co-culture of a member of the Micrarchaeota (Ca. Micrarchaeum harzensis) together with its Thermoplasmatales host (Ca. Scheffleriplasma hospitalis), as well as the isolation of the latter. We show that symbiont-host interactions depend on biofilm formation as evidenced by growth experiments, comparative transcriptomic analyses and electron microscopy. In addition, genomic, metabolomic, extracellular polymeric substances and lipid content analyses indicate that the Micrarchaeon symbiont relies on the acquisition of metabolites from its host. Our study of the cell biology and physiology of a Micrarchaeon and its host adds to our limited knowledge of archaeal symbioses.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Commun

Publication Date





Archaea, Biofilms, Genome, Archaeal, Phylogeny, Thermoplasmales