October 23, 2019  |  

Dynamics of coral-associated microbiomes during a thermal bleaching event.

Coral-associated microorganisms play an important role in their host fitness and survival. A number of studies have demonstrated connections between thermal tolerance in corals and the type/relative abundance of Symbiodinium they harbor. More recently, the shifts in coral-associated bacterial profiles were also shown to be linked to the patterns of coral heat tolerance. Here, we investigated the dynamics of Porites lutea-associated bacterial and algal communities throughout a natural bleaching event, using full-length 16S rRNA and internal transcribed spacer sequences (ITS) obtained from PacBio circular consensus sequencing. We provided evidence of significant changes in the structure and diversity of coral-associated microbiomes during thermal stress. The balance of the symbiosis shifted from a predominant association between corals and Gammaproteobacteria to a predominance of Alphaproteobacteria and to a lesser extent Betaproteobacteria following the bleaching event. On the contrary, the composition and diversity of Symbiodinium communities remained unaltered throughout the bleaching event. It appears that the switching and/or shuffling of Symbiodinium types may not be the primary mechanism used by P. lutea to cope with increasing seawater temperature. The shifts in the structure and diversity of associated bacterial communities may contribute more to the survival of the coral holobiont under heat stress.© 2018 The Authors. MicrobiologyOpen published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


October 23, 2019  |  

High resolution profiling of coral-associated bacterial communities using full-length 16S rRNA sequence data from PacBio SMRT sequencing system.

Coral reefs are a complex ecosystem consisting of coral animals and a vast array of associated symbionts including the dinoflagellate Symbiodinium, fungi, viruses and bacteria. Several studies have highlighted the importance of coral-associated bacteria and their fundamental roles in fitness and survival of the host animal. The scleractinian coral Porites lutea is one of the dominant reef-builders in the Indo-West Pacific. Currently, very little is known about the composition and structure of bacterial communities across P. lutea reefs. The purpose of this study is twofold: to demonstrate the advantages of using PacBio circular consensus sequencing technology in microbial community studies and to investigate the diversity and structure of P. lutea-associated microbiome in the Indo-Pacific. This is the first metagenomic study of marine environmental samples that utilises the PacBio sequencing system to capture full-length 16S rRNA sequences. We observed geographically distinct coral-associated microbial profiles between samples from the Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea. Despite the geographical and environmental impacts on the coral-host interactions, we identified a conserved community of bacteria that were present consistently across diverse reef habitats. Finally, we demonstrated the superior performance of full-length 16S rRNA sequences in resolving taxonomic uncertainty of coral associates at the species level.


September 22, 2019  |  

PacBio metabarcoding of Fungi and other eukaryotes: errors, biases and perspectives.

Second-generation, high-throughput sequencing methods have greatly improved our understanding of the ecology of soil microorganisms, yet the short barcodes (< 500 bp) provide limited taxonomic and phylogenetic information for species discrimination and taxonomic assignment. Here, we utilized the third-generation Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) RSII and Sequel instruments to evaluate the suitability of full-length internal transcribed spacer (ITS) barcodes and longer rRNA gene amplicons for metabarcoding Fungi, Oomycetes and other eukaryotes in soil samples. Metabarcoding revealed multiple errors and biases: Taq polymerase substitution errors and mis-incorporating indels in sequencing homopolymers constitute major errors; sequence length biases occur during PCR, library preparation, loading to the sequencing instrument and quality filtering; primer-template mismatches bias the taxonomic profile when using regular and highly degenerate primers. The RSII and Sequel platforms enable the sequencing of amplicons up to 3000 bp, but the sequence quality remains slightly inferior to Illumina sequencing especially in longer amplicons. The full ITS barcode and flanking rRNA small subunit gene greatly improve taxonomic identification at the species and phylum levels, respectively. We conclude that PacBio sequencing provides a viable alternative for metabarcoding of organisms that are of relatively low diversity, require > 500-bp barcode for reliable identification or when phylogenetic approaches are intended.© 2017 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2017 New Phytologist Trust.


September 22, 2019  |  

An environmental bacterial taxon with a large and distinct metabolic repertoire.

Cultivated bacteria such as actinomycetes are a highly useful source of biomedically important natural products. However, such ‘talented’ producers represent only a minute fraction of the entire, mostly uncultivated, prokaryotic diversity. The uncultured majority is generally perceived as a large, untapped resource of new drug candidates, but so far it is unknown whether taxa containing talented bacteria indeed exist. Here we report the single-cell- and metagenomics-based discovery of such producers. Two phylotypes of the candidate genus ‘Entotheonella’ with genomes of greater than 9 megabases and multiple, distinct biosynthetic gene clusters co-inhabit the chemically and microbially rich marine sponge Theonella swinhoei. Almost all bioactive polyketides and peptides known from this animal were attributed to a single phylotype. ‘Entotheonella’ spp. are widely distributed in sponges and belong to an environmental taxon proposed here as candidate phylum ‘Tectomicrobia’. The pronounced bioactivities and chemical uniqueness of ‘Entotheonella’ compounds provide significant opportunities for ecological studies and drug discovery.


September 22, 2019  |  

Novel syntrophic populations dominate an ammonia-tolerant methanogenic microbiome.

Biogas reactors operating with protein-rich substrates have high methane potential and industrial value; however, they are highly susceptible to process failure because of the accumulation of ammonia. High ammonia levels cause a decline in acetate-utilizing methanogens and instead promote the conversion of acetate via a two-step mechanism involving syntrophic acetate oxidation (SAO) to H2 and CO2, followed by hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis. Despite the key role of syntrophic acetate-oxidizing bacteria (SAOB), only a few culturable representatives have been characterized. Here we show that the microbiome of a commercial, ammonia-tolerant biogas reactor harbors a deeply branched, uncultured phylotype (unFirm_1) accounting for approximately 5% of the 16S rRNA gene inventory and sharing 88% 16S rRNA gene identity with its closest characterized relative. Reconstructed genome and quantitative metaproteomic analyses imply unFirm_1’s metabolic dominance and SAO capabilities, whereby the key enzymes required for acetate oxidation are among the most highly detected in the reactor microbiome. While culturable SAOB were identified in genomic analyses of the reactor, their limited proteomic representation suggests that unFirm_1 plays an important role in channeling acetate toward methane. Notably, unFirm_1-like populations were found in other high-ammonia biogas installations, conjecturing a broader importance for this novel clade of SAOB in anaerobic fermentations. IMPORTANCE The microbial production of methane or “biogas” is an attractive renewable energy technology that can recycle organic waste into biofuel. Biogas reactors operating with protein-rich substrates such as household municipal or agricultural wastes have significant industrial and societal value; however, they are highly unstable and frequently collapse due to the accumulation of ammonia. We report the discovery of a novel uncultured phylotype (unFirm_1) that is highly detectable in metaproteomic data generated from an ammonia-tolerant commercial reactor. Importantly, unFirm_1 is proposed to perform a key metabolic step in biogas microbiomes, whereby it syntrophically oxidizes acetate to hydrogen and carbon dioxide, which methanogens then covert to methane. Only very few culturable syntrophic acetate-oxidizing bacteria have been described, and all were detected at low in situ levels compared to unFirm_1. Broader comparisons produced the hypothesis that unFirm_1 is a key mediator toward the successful long-term stable operation of biogas production using protein-rich substrates.


September 22, 2019  |  

The standard operating procedure of the DOE-JGI Microbial Genome Annotation Pipeline (MGAP v.4).

The DOE-JGI Microbial Genome Annotation Pipeline performs structural and functional annotation of microbial genomes that are further included into the Integrated Microbial Genome comparative analysis system. MGAP is applied to assembled nucleotide sequence datasets that are provided via the IMG submission site. Dataset submission for annotation first requires project and associated metadata description in GOLD. The MGAP sequence data processing consists of feature prediction including identification of protein-coding genes, non-coding RNAs and regulatory RNA features, as well as CRISPR elements. Structural annotation is followed by assignment of protein product names and functions.


September 22, 2019  |  

Subaerial biofilms on granitic historic buildings: microbial diversity and development of phototrophic multi-species cultures.

Microbial communities of natural subaerial biofilms developed on granitic historic buildings of a World Heritage Site (Santiago de Compostela, NW Spain) were characterized and cultured in liquid BG11 medium. Environmental barcoding through next-generation sequencing (Pacific Biosciences) revealed that the biofilms were mainly composed of species of Chlorophyta (green algae) and Ascomycota (fungi) commonly associated with rock substrata. Richness and diversity were higher for the fungal than for the algal assemblages and fungi showed higher heterogeneity among samples. Cultures derived from natural biofilms showed the establishment of stable microbial communities mainly composed of Chlorophyta and Cyanobacteria. Although most taxa found in these cultures were not common in the original biofilms, they are likely common pioneer colonizers of building stone surfaces, including granite. Stable phototrophic multi-species cultures of known microbial diversity were thus obtained and their reliability to emulate natural colonization on granite should be confirmed in further experiments.


September 22, 2019  |  

A novel lactobacilli-based teat disinfectant for improving bacterial communities in the milks of cow teats with subclinical mastitis.

Teat disinfection pre- and post-milking is important for the overall health and hygiene of dairy cows. The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of a novel probiotic lactobacilli-based teat disinfectant based on changes in somatic cell count (SCC) and profiling of the bacterial community. A total of 69 raw milk samples were obtained from eleven Holstein-Friesian dairy cows over 12 days of teat dipping in China. Single molecule, real-time sequencing technology (SMRT) was employed to profile changes in the bacterial community during the cleaning protocol and to compare the efficacy of probiotic lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and commercial teat disinfectants. The SCC gradually decreased following the cleaning protocol and the SCC of the LAB group was slightly lower than that of the commercial disinfectant (CD) group. Our SMRT sequencing results indicate that raw milk from both the LAB and CD groups contained diverse microbial populations that changed over the course of the cleaning protocol. The relative abundances of some species were significantly changed during the cleaning process, which may explain the observed bacterial community differences. Collectively, these results suggest that the LAB disinfectant could reduce mastitis-associated bacteria and improve the microbial environment of the cow teat. It could be used as an alternative to chemical pre- and post-milking teat disinfectants to maintain healthy teats and udders. In addition, the Pacific Biosciences SMRT sequencing with the full-length 16S ribosomal RNA gene was shown to be a powerful tool for monitoring changes in the bacterial population during the cleaning protocol.


September 22, 2019  |  

Rapid infectious disease identification by next-generation DNA sequencing.

Currently, there is a critical need to rapidly identify infectious organisms in clinical samples. Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) could surmount the deficiencies of culture-based methods; however, there are no standardized, automated programs to process NGS data. To address this deficiency, we developed the Rapid Infectious Disease Identification (RIDI™) system. The system requires minimal guidance, which reduces operator errors. The system is compatible with the three major NGS platforms. It automatically interfaces with the sequencing system, detects their data format, configures the analysis type, applies appropriate quality control, and analyzes the results. Sequence information is characterized using both the NCBI database and RIDI™ specific databases. RIDI™ was designed to identify high probability sequence matches and more divergent matches that could represent different or novel species. We challenged the system using defined American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) reference standards of 27 species, both individually and in varying combinations. The system was able to rapidly detect known organisms in <12h with multi-sample throughput. The system accurately identifies 99.5% of the DNA sequence reads at the genus-level and 75.3% at the species-level in reference standards. It has a limit of detection of 146cells/ml in simulated clinical samples, and is also able to identify the components of polymicrobial samples with 16.9% discrepancy at the genus-level and 31.2% at the species-level. Thus, the system's effectiveness may exceed current methods, especially in situations where culture methods could produce false negatives or where rapid results would influence patient outcomes. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Is there foul play in the leaf pocket? The metagenome of floating fern Azolla reveals endophytes that do not fix N2 but may denitrify.

Dinitrogen fixation by Nostoc azollae residing in specialized leaf pockets supports prolific growth of the floating fern Azolla filiculoides. To evaluate contributions by further microorganisms, the A. filiculoides microbiome and nitrogen metabolism in bacteria persistently associated with Azolla ferns were characterized. A metagenomic approach was taken complemented by detection of N2 O released and nitrogen isotope determinations of fern biomass. Ribosomal RNA genes in sequenced DNA of natural ferns, their enriched leaf pockets and water filtrate from the surrounding ditch established that bacteria of A. filiculoides differed entirely from surrounding water and revealed species of the order Rhizobiales. Analyses of seven cultivated Azolla species confirmed persistent association with Rhizobiales. Two distinct nearly full-length Rhizobiales genomes were identified in leaf-pocket-enriched samples from ditch grown A. filiculoides. Their annotation revealed genes for denitrification but not N2 -fixation. 15 N2 incorporation was active in ferns with N. azollae but not in ferns without. N2 O was not detectably released from surface-sterilized ferns with the Rhizobiales. N2 -fixing N. azollae, we conclude, dominated the microbiome of Azolla ferns. The persistent but less abundant heterotrophic Rhizobiales bacteria possibly contributed to lowering O2 levels in leaf pockets but did not release detectable amounts of the strong greenhouse gas N2 O.© 2017 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2017 New Phytologist Trust.


September 22, 2019  |  

Moving beyond microbiome-wide associations to causal microbe identification.

Microbiome-wide association studies have established that numerous diseases are associated with changes in the microbiota. These studies typically generate a long list of commensals implicated as biomarkers of disease, with no clear relevance to disease pathogenesis. If the field is to move beyond correlations and begin to address causation, an effective system is needed for refining this catalogue of differentially abundant microbes and to allow subsequent mechanistic studies. Here we demonstrate that triangulation of microbe-phenotype relationships is an effective method for reducing the noise inherent in microbiota studies and enabling identification of causal microbes. We found that gnotobiotic mice harbouring different microbial communities exhibited differential survival in a colitis model. Co-housing of these mice generated animals that had hybrid microbiotas and displayed intermediate susceptibility to colitis. Mapping of microbe-phenotype relationships in parental mouse strains and in mice with hybrid microbiotas identified the bacterial family Lachnospiraceae as a correlate for protection from disease. Using directed microbial culture techniques, we discovered Clostridium immunis, a previously unknown bacterial species from this family, that-when administered to colitis-prone mice-protected them against colitis-associated death. To demonstrate the generalizability of our approach, we used it to identify several commensal organisms that induce intestinal expression of an antimicrobial peptide. Thus, we have used microbe-phenotype triangulation to move beyond the standard correlative microbiome study and identify causal microbes for two completely distinct phenotypes. Identification of disease-modulating commensals by microbe-phenotype triangulation may be more broadly applicable to human microbiome studies.


September 22, 2019  |  

Differential responses of total and active soil microbial communities to long-term experimental N deposition

Abstract The relationship between total and metabolically active soil microbial communities can provide insight into how these communities are impacted by environmental change, which may impact the flow of energy and cycling of nutrients in the future. For example, the anthropogenic release of biologically available N has dramatically increased over the last 150 years, which can alter the processes controlling C storage in terrestrial ecosystems. In a northern hardwood forest ecosystem located in Michigan, USA, nearly 20 years of experimentally increased atmospheric N deposition has reduced forest floor decay and increased soil C storage. A microbial mechanism underlies this response, as compositional changes in the soil microbial community have been concomitantly documented with these biogeochemical changes. Here, we co-extracted DNA and RNA from decaying leaf litter to determine if experimental atmospheric N deposition has lowered the diversity and altered the composition of the whole communities of bacteria and fungi (i.e., DNA-based) and well as its active members (i.e., RNA-based). In our experiment, experimental N deposition did not affect the composition, diversity, or richness of the total forest floor fungal community, but did lower the diversity (-8%), as well as altered the composition of the active fungal community. In contrast, neither the total nor active forest floor bacterial community was significantly affected by experimental N deposition. Our results suggest that future rates of atmospheric N deposition can fundamentally alter the organization of the saprotrophic soil fungal community, key mediators of C cycling in terrestrial environments.


September 22, 2019  |  

Carbohydrate staple food modulates gut microbiota of Mongolians in China.

Gut microbiota is a determining factor in human physiological functions and health. It is commonly accepted that diet has a major influence on the gut microbial community, however, the effects of diet is not fully understood. The typical Mongolian diet is characterized by high and frequent consumption of fermented dairy products and red meat, and low level of carbohydrates. In this study, the gut microbiota profile of 26 Mongolians whom consumed wheat, rice and oat as the sole carbohydrate staple food for a week each consecutively was determined. It was observed that changes in staple carbohydrate rapidly (within a week) altered gut microbial community structure and metabolic pathway of the subjects. Wheat and oat favored bifidobacteria (Bifidobacterium catenulatum, Bifodobacteriumbifidum, Bifidobacterium adolescentis); whereas rice suppressed bifidobacteria (Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium adolescentis) and wheat suppresses Lactobaciilus, Ruminococcus and Bacteroides. The study exhibited two gut microbial clustering patterns with the preference of fucosyllactose utilization linking to fucosidase genes (glycoside hydrolase family classifications: GH95 and GH29) encoded by Bifidobacterium, and xylan and arabinoxylan utilization linking to xylanase and arabinoxylanase genes encoded by Bacteroides. There was also a correlation between Lactobacillus ruminis and sialidase, as well as Butyrivibrio crossotus and xylanase/xylosidase. Meanwhile, a strong concordance was found between the gastrointestinal bacterial microbiome and the intestinal virome. Present research will contribute to understanding the impacts of the dietary carbohydrate on human gut microbiome, which will ultimately help understand relationships between dietary factor, microbial populations, and the health of global humans.


September 22, 2019  |  

16S rRNA long-read sequencing of the granulation tissue from nonsmokers and smokers-severe chronic periodontitis patients

Smoking has been associated with increased risk of periodontitis. The aim of the present study was to compare the periodontal disease severity among smokers and nonsmokers which may help in better understanding of predisposition to this chronic inflammation mediated diseases. We selected deep-seated infected granulation tissue removed during periodontal flap surgery procedures for identification and differential abundance of residential bacterial species among smokers and nonsmokers through long-read sequencing technology targeting full-length 16S rRNA gene. A total of 8 phyla were identified among which Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes were most dominating. Differential abundance analysis of OTUs through PICRUST showed significant (p>0.05) abundance of Phyla-Fusobacteria (Streptobacillus moniliformis); Phyla-Firmicutes (Streptococcus equi), and Phyla Proteobacteria (Enhydrobacter aerosaccus) in nonsmokers compared to smokers. The differential abundance of oral metagenomes in smokers showed significant enrichment of host genes modulating pathways involving primary immunodeficiency, citrate cycle, streptomycin biosynthesis, vitamin B6 metabolism, butanoate metabolism, glycine, serine, and threonine metabolism pathways. While thiamine metabolism, amino acid metabolism, homologous recombination, epithelial cell signaling, aminoacyl-tRNA biosynthesis, phosphonate/phosphinate metabolism, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon degradation, synthesis and degradation of ketone bodies, translation factors, Ascorbate and aldarate metabolism, and DNA replication pathways were significantly enriched in nonsmokers, modulation of these pathways in oral cavities due to differential enrichment of metagenomes in smokers may lead to an increased susceptibility to infections and/or higher formation of DNA adducts, which may increase the risk of carcinogenesis.


September 22, 2019  |  

Microbial phylogenetic profiling with the Pacific Biosciences sequencing platform.

High-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons has revolutionized the capacity and depth of microbial community profiling. Several sequencing platforms are available, but most phylogenetic studies are performed on the 454-pyrosequencing platform because its longer reads can give finer phylogenetic resolution. The Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) sequencing platform is significantly less expensive per run, does not rely on amplification for library generation, and generates reads that are, on average, four times longer than those from 454 (C2 chemistry), but the resulting high error rates appear to preclude its use in phylogenetic profiling. Recently, however, the PacBio platform was used to characterize four electrosynthetic microbiomes to the genus-level for less than USD 1,000 through the use of PacBio’s circular consensus sequence technology. Here, we describe in greater detail: 1) the output from successful 16S rRNA gene amplicon profiling with PacBio, 2) how the analysis was contingent upon several alterations to standard bioinformatic quality control workflows, and 3) the advantages and disadvantages of using the PacBio platform for community profiling.


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