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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

metaFlye: scalable long-read metagenome assembly using repeat graphs

Long-read sequencing technologies substantially improved assemblies of many isolate bacterial genomes as compared to fragmented assemblies produced with short-read technologies. However, assembling complex metagenomic datasets remains a challenge even for the state-of-the-art long-read assemblers. To address this gap, we present the metaFlye assembler and demonstrate that it generates highly contiguous and accurate metagenome assemblies. In contrast to short-read metagenomics assemblers that typically fail to reconstruct full-length 16S RNA genes, metaFlye captures many 16S RNA genes within long contigs, thus providing new opportunities for analyzing the microbial “dark matter of life”. We also demonstrate that long-read metagenome assemblers significantly improve full-length…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

A microbial factory for defensive kahalalides in a tripartite marine symbiosis.

Chemical defense against predators is widespread in natural ecosystems. Occasionally, taxonomically distant organisms share the same defense chemical. Here, we describe an unusual tripartite marine symbiosis, in which an intracellular bacterial symbiont (“Candidatus Endobryopsis kahalalidefaciens”) uses a diverse array of biosynthetic enzymes to convert simple substrates into a library of complex molecules (the kahalalides) for chemical defense of the host, the alga Bryopsis sp., against predation. The kahalalides are subsequently hijacked by a third partner, the herbivorous mollusk Elysia rufescens, and employed similarly for defense. “Ca E. kahalalidefaciens” has lost many essential traits for free living and acts as a…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Shared and unique microbes between Small hive beetles (Aethina tumida) and their honey bee hosts.

The small hive beetle (SHB) is an opportunistic parasite that feeds on bee larvae, honey, and pollen. While SHBs can also feed on fruit and other plant products, like its plant-feeding relatives, SHBs prefer to feed on hive resources and only reproduce inside bee colonies. As parasites, SHBs are inevitably exposed to bee-associated microbes, either directly from the bees or from the hive environment. These microbes have unknown impacts on beetles, nor is it known how extensively beetles transfer microbes among their bee hosts. To identify sets of beetle microbes and the transmission of microbes from bees to beetles, a…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Assembly of long, error-prone reads using repeat graphs.

Accurate genome assembly is hampered by repetitive regions. Although long single molecule sequencing reads are better able to resolve genomic repeats than short-read data, most long-read assembly algorithms do not provide the repeat characterization necessary for producing optimal assemblies. Here, we present Flye, a long-read assembly algorithm that generates arbitrary paths in an unknown repeat graph, called disjointigs, and constructs an accurate repeat graph from these error-riddled disjointigs. We benchmark Flye against five state-of-the-art assemblers and show that it generates better or comparable assemblies, while being an order of magnitude faster. Flye nearly doubled the contiguity of the human genome…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Phylogenetic barriers to horizontal transfer of antimicrobial peptide resistance genes in the human gut microbiota.

The human gut microbiota has adapted to the presence of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), which are ancient components of immune defence. Despite its medical importance, it has remained unclear whether AMP resistance genes in the gut microbiome are available for genetic exchange between bacterial species. Here, we show that AMP resistance and antibiotic resistance genes differ in their mobilization patterns and functional compatibilities with new bacterial hosts. First, whereas AMP resistance genes are widespread in the gut microbiome, their rate of horizontal transfer is lower than that of antibiotic resistance genes. Second, gut microbiota culturing and functional metagenomics have revealed that…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Metagenomic assembly through the lens of validation: recent advances in assessing and improving the quality of genomes assembled from metagenomes.

Metagenomic samples are snapshots of complex ecosystems at work. They comprise hundreds of known and unknown species, contain multiple strain variants and vary greatly within and across environments. Many microbes found in microbial communities are not easily grown in culture making their DNA sequence our only clue into their evolutionary history and biological function. Metagenomic assembly is a computational process aimed at reconstructing genes and genomes from metagenomic mixtures. Current methods have made significant strides in reconstructing DNA segments comprising operons, tandem gene arrays and syntenic blocks. Shorter, higher-throughput sequencing technologies have become the de facto standard in the field.…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Differences in resource use lead to coexistence of seed-transmitted microbial populations.

Seeds are involved in the vertical transmission of microorganisms in plants and act as reservoirs for the plant microbiome. They could serve as carriers of pathogens, making the study of microbial interactions on seeds important in the emergence of plant diseases. We studied the influence of biological disturbances caused by seed transmission of two phytopathogenic agents, Alternaria brassicicola Abra43 (Abra43) and Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris 8004 (Xcc8004), on the structure and function of radish seed microbial assemblages, as well as the nutritional overlap between Xcc8004 and the seed microbiome, to find seed microbial residents capable of outcompeting this pathogen. According…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Metatranscriptomic evidence for classical and RuBisCO-mediated CO2 reduction to methane facilitated by direct interspecies electron transfer in a methanogenic system.

In a staged anaerobic fluidized-bed ceramic membrane bioreactor, metagenomic and metatranscriptomic analyses were performed to decipher the microbial interactions on the granular activated carbon. Metagenome bins, representing the predominating microbes in the bioreactor: syntrophic propionate-oxidizing bacteria (SPOB), acetoclastic Methanothrix concilii, and exoelectrogenic Geobacter lovleyi, were successfully recovered for the reconstruction and analysis of metabolic pathways involved in the transformation of fatty acids to methane. In particular, SPOB degraded propionate into acetate, which was further converted into methane and CO2 by M. concilii via the acetoclastic methanogenesis. Concurrently, G. lovleyi oxidized acetate into CO2, releasing electrons into the extracellular environment. By…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Uncovering the biosynthetic potential of rare metagenomic DNA using co-occurrence network analysis of targeted sequences.

Sequencing of DNA extracted from environmental samples can provide key insights into the biosynthetic potential of uncultured bacteria. However, the high complexity of soil metagenomes, which can contain thousands of bacterial species per gram of soil, imposes significant challenges to explore secondary metabolites potentially produced by rare members of the soil microbiome. Here, we develop a targeted sequencing workflow termed CONKAT-seq (co-occurrence network analysis of targeted sequences) that detects physically clustered biosynthetic domains, a hallmark of bacterial secondary metabolism. Following targeted amplification of conserved biosynthetic domains in a highly partitioned metagenomic library, CONKAT-seq evaluates amplicon co-occurrence patterns across library subpools…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Metaepigenomic analysis reveals the unexplored diversity of DNA methylation in an environmental prokaryotic community.

DNA methylation plays important roles in prokaryotes, and their genomic landscapes-prokaryotic epigenomes-have recently begun to be disclosed. However, our knowledge of prokaryotic methylation systems is focused on those of culturable microbes, which are rare in nature. Here, we used single-molecule real-time and circular consensus sequencing techniques to reveal the ‘metaepigenomes’ of a microbial community in the largest lake in Japan, Lake Biwa. We reconstructed 19 draft genomes from diverse bacterial and archaeal groups, most of which are yet to be cultured. The analysis of DNA chemical modifications in those genomes revealed 22 methylated motifs, nine of which were novel. We…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Assignment of virus and antimicrobial resistance genes to microbial hosts in a complex microbial community by combined long-read assembly and proximity ligation.

We describe a method that adds long-read sequencing to a mix of technologies used to assemble a highly complex cattle rumen microbial community, and provide a comparison to short read-based methods. Long-read alignments and Hi-C linkage between contigs support the identification of 188 novel virus-host associations and the determination of phage life cycle states in the rumen microbial community. The long-read assembly also identifies 94 antimicrobial resistance genes, compared to only seven alleles in the short-read assembly. We demonstrate novel techniques that work synergistically to improve characterization of biological features in a highly complex rumen microbial community.

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