September 22, 2019  |  

Metagenomic binning and association of plasmids with bacterial host genomes using DNA methylation.

Shotgun metagenomics methods enable characterization of microbial communities in human microbiome and environmental samples. Assembly of metagenome sequences does not output whole genomes, so computational binning methods have been developed to cluster sequences into genome ‘bins’. These methods exploit sequence composition, species abundance, or chromosome organization but cannot fully distinguish closely related species and strains. We present a binning method that incorporates bacterial DNA methylation signatures, which are detected using single-molecule real-time sequencing. Our method takes advantage of these endogenous epigenetic barcodes to resolve individual reads and assembled contigs into species- and strain-level bins. We validate our method using synthetic and real microbiome sequences. In addition to genome binning, we show that our method links plasmids and other mobile genetic elements to their host species in a real microbiome sample. Incorporation of DNA methylation information into shotgun metagenomics analyses will complement existing methods to enable more accurate sequence binning.


September 22, 2019  |  

Bacterial community structure in simultaneous nitrification, denitrification and organic matter removal process treating saline mustard tuber wastewater as revealed by 16S rRNA sequencing.

A simultaneous nitrification, denitrification and organic matter removal (SNDOR) process in sequencing batch biofilm reactor (SBBR) was established to treat saline mustard tuber wastewater (MTWW) in this study. An average COD removal efficiency of 86.48% and total nitrogen removal efficiency of 86.48% were achieved at 30gNaClL(-1) during 100days’ operation. The underlying mechanisms were investigated by PacBio SMRT DNA sequencing (V1-V9) to analyze the microbial community structures and its variation from low salinity at 10gNaClL(-1) to high salinity at 30gNaClL(-1). Results showed elevated salinity did not affect biological performance but reduced microbial diversity in SBBR, and halophilic bacteria gradually predominated by succession. Despite of high C/N, autotrophic ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) Nitrosomonas and ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) Candidatus Nitrososphaera both contributed to ammonium oxidation. As salinity increasing, nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB) were significantly inhibited, partial nitrification and denitrification (PND) process gradually contributed to nitrogen removal. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

The effects of probiotics administration on the milk production, milk components and fecal bacteria microbiota of dairy cows

Probiotics administration can improve host health. This study aims to determine the effects of probiotics (Lactobacillus casei Zhang and Lactobacillus plantarum P-8) administration on milk production, milk functional components, milk composition, and fecal microbiota of dairy cows. Variations in the fecal bacteria microbiota between treatments were assessed based on 16S rRNA profiles determined by PacBio single molecule real-time sequencing technology. The probiotics supplementation significantly increased the milk production and the contents of milk immunoglobulin G (IgG), lactoferrin (LTF), lysozyme (LYS) and lactoperoxidase (LP), while the somatic cell counts (SCC) significantly decreased (P < 0.01). However, no significant difference was found in the milk fat, protein and lactose contents (P > 0.05). Although the probiotics supplementation did not change the fecal bacteria richness and diversity, significantly more rumen fermentative bacteria (Bacteroides, Roseburia, Ruminococcus, Clostridium, Coprococcus and Dorea) and beneficial bacteria (Faecalibacterium prausnitzii) were found in the probiotics treatment group. Meanwhile, some opportunistic pathogens e.g. Bacillus cereus, Cronobacter sakazakii and Alkaliphilus oremlandii, were suppressed. Additionally, we found some correlations between the milk production, milk components and fecal bacteria. To sum up, our study demonstrated the beneficial effects of probiotics application in improving the quality and quantity of cow milk production.


September 22, 2019  |  

Laboratory colonization stabilizes the naturally dynamic microbiome composition of field collected Dermacentor andersoni ticks.

Nearly a quarter of emerging infectious diseases identified in the last century are arthropod-borne. Although ticks and insects can carry pathogenic microorganisms, non-pathogenic microbes make up the majority of their microbial communities. The majority of tick microbiome research has had a focus on discovery and description; very few studies have analyzed the ecological context and functional responses of the bacterial microbiome of ticks. The goal of this analysis was to characterize the stability of the bacterial microbiome of Dermacentor andersoni ticks between generations and two populations within a species.The bacterial microbiome of D. andersoni midguts and salivary glands was analyzed from populations collected at two different ecologically distinct sites by comparing field (F1) and lab-reared populations (F1-F3) over three generations. The microbiome composition of pooled and individual samples was analyzed by sequencing nearly full-length 16S rRNA gene amplicons using a Pacific Biosciences CCS platform that allows identification of bacteria to the species level.In this study, we found that the D. andersoni microbiome was distinct in different geographic populations and was tissue specific, differing between the midgut and the salivary gland, over multiple generations. Additionally, our study showed that the microbiomes of laboratory-reared populations were not necessarily representative of their respective field populations. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the microbiome of a few individual ticks does not represent the microbiome composition at the population level.We demonstrated that the bacterial microbiome of D. andersoni was complex over three generations and specific to tick tissue (midgut vs. salivary glands) as well as geographic location (Burns, Oregon vs. Lake Como, Montana vs. laboratory setting). These results provide evidence that habitat of the tick population is a vital component of the complexity of the bacterial microbiome of ticks, and that the microbiome of lab colonies may not allow for comparative analyses with field populations. A broader understanding of microbiome variation will be required if we are to employ manipulation of the microbiome as a method for interfering with acquisition and transmission of tick-borne pathogens.


September 22, 2019  |  

Long-term operation of microbial electrosynthesis systems improves acetate production by autotrophic microbiomes.

Microbial electrosynthesis is the biocathode-driven production of chemicals from CO2 and has the promise to be a sustainable, carbon-consuming technology. To date, microbial electrosynthesis of acetate, the first step in order to generate liquid fuels from CO2, has been characterized by low rates and yields. To improve performance, a previously established acetogenic biocathode was operated in semi-batch mode at a poised potential of -590 mV vs SHE for over 150 days beyond its initial development. Rates of acetate production reached a maximum of 17.25 mM day(-1) (1.04 g L(-1) d(-1)) with accumulation to 175 mM (10.5 g L(-1)) over 20 days. Hydrogen was also produced at high rates by the biocathode, reaching 100 mM d(-1) (0.2 g L(-1) d(-1)) and a total accumulation of 1164 mM (2.4 g L(-1)) over 20 days. Phylogenetic analysis of the active electrosynthetic microbiome revealed a similar community structure to what was observed during an earlier stage of development of the electroacetogenic microbiome. Acetobacterium spp. dominated the active microbial population on the cathodes. Also prevalent were Sulfurospirillum spp. and an unclassified Rhodobacteraceae. Taken together, these results demonstrate the stability, resilience, and improved performance of electrosynthetic biocathodes following long-term operation. Furthermore, sustained product formation at faster rates by a carbon-capturing microbiome is a key milestone addressed in this study that advances microbial electrosynthesis systems toward commercialization.


September 22, 2019  |  

100K Pathogen Genome Project.

The 100K Pathogen Genome Project is producing draft and closed genome sequences from diverse pathogens. This project expanded globally to include a snapshot of global bacterial genome diversity. The genomes form a sequence database that has a variety of uses from systematics to public health. Copyright © 2017 Weimer.


September 22, 2019  |  

Localized electron transfer rates and microelectrode-based enrichment of microbial communities within a phototrophic microbial mat.

Phototrophic microbial mats frequently exhibit sharp, light-dependent redox gradients that regulate microbial respiration on specific electron acceptors as a function of depth. In this work, a benthic phototrophic microbial mat from Hot Lake, a hypersaline, epsomitic lake located near Oroville in north-central Washington, was used to develop a microscale electrochemical method to study local electron transfer processes within the mat. To characterize the physicochemical variables influencing electron transfer, we initially quantified redox potential, pH, and dissolved oxygen gradients by depth in the mat under photic and aphotic conditions. We further demonstrated that power output of a mat fuel cell was light-dependent. To study local electron transfer processes, we deployed a microscale electrode (microelectrode) with tip size ~20 µm. To enrich a subset of microorganisms capable of interacting with the microelectrode, we anodically polarized the microelectrode at depth in the mat. Subsequently, to characterize the microelectrode-associated community and compare it to the neighboring mat community, we performed amplicon sequencing of the V1-V3 region of the 16S gene. Differences in Bray-Curtis beta diversity, illustrated by large changes in relative abundance at the phylum level, suggested successful enrichment of specific mat community members on the microelectrode surface. The microelectrode-associated community exhibited substantially reduced alpha diversity and elevated relative abundances of Prosthecochloris, Loktanella, Catellibacterium, other unclassified members of Rhodobacteraceae, Thiomicrospira, and Limnobacter, compared with the community at an equivalent depth in the mat. Our results suggest that local electron transfer to an anodically polarized microelectrode selected for a specific microbial population, with substantially more abundance and diversity of sulfur-oxidizing phylotypes compared with the neighboring mat community.


September 22, 2019  |  

Interaction between the microbiome and TP53 in human lung cancer.

Lung cancer is the leading cancer diagnosis worldwide and the number one cause of cancer deaths. Exposure to cigarette smoke, the primary risk factor in lung cancer, reduces epithelial barrier integrity and increases susceptibility to infections. Herein, we hypothesize that somatic mutations together with cigarette smoke generate a dysbiotic microbiota that is associated with lung carcinogenesis. Using lung tissue from 33 controls and 143 cancer cases, we conduct 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) bacterial gene sequencing, with RNA-sequencing data from lung cancer cases in The Cancer Genome Atlas serving as the validation cohort.Overall, we demonstrate a lower alpha diversity in normal lung as compared to non-tumor adjacent or tumor tissue. In squamous cell carcinoma specifically, a separate group of taxa are identified, in which Acidovorax is enriched in smokers. Acidovorax temporans is identified within tumor sections by fluorescent in situ hybridization and confirmed by two separate 16S rRNA strategies. Further, these taxa, including Acidovorax, exhibit higher abundance among the subset of squamous cell carcinoma cases with TP53 mutations, an association not seen in adenocarcinomas.The results of this comprehensive study show both microbiome-gene and microbiome-exposure interactions in squamous cell carcinoma lung cancer tissue. Specifically, tumors harboring TP53 mutations, which can impair epithelial function, have a unique bacterial consortium that is higher in relative abundance in smoking-associated tumors of this type. Given the significant need for clinical diagnostic tools in lung cancer, this study may provide novel biomarkers for early detection.


September 22, 2019  |  

Interpreting microbial biosynthesis in the genomic age: Biological and practical considerations.

Genome mining has become an increasingly powerful, scalable, and economically accessible tool for the study of natural product biosynthesis and drug discovery. However, there remain important biological and practical problems that can complicate or obscure biosynthetic analysis in genomic and metagenomic sequencing projects. Here, we focus on limitations of available technology as well as computational and experimental strategies to overcome them. We review the unique challenges and approaches in the study of symbiotic and uncultured systems, as well as those associated with biosynthetic gene cluster (BGC) assembly and product prediction. Finally, to explore sequencing parameters that affect the recovery and contiguity of large and repetitive BGCs assembled de novo, we simulate Illumina and PacBio sequencing of the Salinispora tropica genome focusing on assembly of the salinilactam (slm) BGC.


September 22, 2019  |  

Melanization of mycorrhizal fungal necromass structures microbial decomposer communities

Mycorrhizal fungal necromass is increasingly recognized as an important contributor to soil organic carbon pools, particularly in forest ecosystems. While its decomposition rate is primarily determined by biochemical composition, how traits such as melanin content affect the structure of necromass decomposer communities remains poorly understood. To assess the role of biochemical traits on microbial decomposer community composition and functioning, we incubated melanized and non-melanized necromass of the mycorrhizal fungus Meliniomyces bicolor in Pinus- and Quercus-dominated forests in Minnesota, USA and then assessed the associated fungal and bacterial decomposer communities after 1, 2 and 3 months using high-throughput sequencing. Melanized necromass decomposed significantly slower than non-melanized necromass in both forests. The structure of the microbial decomposer communities depended significantly on necromass melanin content, although the effect was stronger for fungi than bacteria. On non-melanized necromass, fungal communities were dominated by r-selected ascomycete and mucoromycete microfungi early and then replaced by basidiomycete ectomycorrhizal fungi, while on melanized necromass these groups were co-dominant throughout the incubation. Bacterial communities were dominated by both specialist mycophageous and generalist taxa. Synthesis. Our results indicate that necromass biochemistry not only strongly affects rates of decomposition but also the structure of the associated decomposer communities. Furthermore, the observed colonization patterns suggest that fungi, and particularly ectomycorrhizal fungi, may play a more important role in necromass decomposition than previously recognized.


September 22, 2019  |  

Caught in the middle with multiple displacement amplification: the myth of pooling for avoiding multiple displacement amplification bias in a metagenome.

Shotgun metagenomics has become an important tool for investigating the ecology of microorganisms. Underlying these investigations is the assumption that metagenome sequence data accurately estimates the census of microbial populations. Multiple displacement amplification (MDA) of microbial community DNA is often used in cases where it is difficult to obtain enough DNA for sequencing; however, MDA can result in amplification biases that may impact subsequent estimates of population census from metagenome data. Some have posited that pooling replicate MDA reactions negates these biases and restores the accuracy of population analyses. This assumption has not been empirically tested.Using mock viral communities, we examined the influence of pooling on population-scale analyses. In pooled and single reaction MDA treatments, sequence coverage of viral populations was highly variable and coverage patterns across viral genomes were nearly identical, indicating that initial priming biases were reproducible and that pooling did not alleviate biases. In contrast, control unamplified sequence libraries showed relatively even coverage across phage genomes.MDA should be avoided for metagenomic investigations that require quantitative estimates of microbial taxa and gene functional groups. While MDA is an indispensable technique in applications such as single-cell genomics, amplification biases cannot be overcome by combining replicate MDA reactions. Alternative library preparation techniques should be utilized for quantitative microbial ecology studies utilizing metagenomic sequencing approaches.


September 22, 2019  |  

Metagenomic approaches to assess bacteriophages in various environmental niches.

Bacteriophages are ubiquitous and numerous parasites of bacteria and play a critical evolutionary role in virtually every ecosystem, yet our understanding of the extent of the diversity and role of phages remains inadequate for many ecological niches, particularly in cases in which the host is unculturable. During the past 15 years, the emergence of the field of viral metagenomics has drastically enhanced our ability to analyse the so-called viral ‘dark matter’ of the biosphere. Here, we review the evolution of viral metagenomic methodologies, as well as providing an overview of some of the most significant applications and findings in this field of research.


September 22, 2019  |  

Electrosynthesis of commodity chemicals by an autotrophic microbial community.

A microbial community originating from brewery waste produced methane, acetate, and hydrogen when selected on a granular graphite cathode poised at -590 mV versus the standard hydrogen electrode (SHE) with CO(2) as the only carbon source. This is the first report on the simultaneous electrosynthesis of these commodity chemicals and the first description of electroacetogenesis by a microbial community. Deep sequencing of the active community 16S rRNA revealed a dynamic microbial community composed of an invariant Archaea population of Methanobacterium spp. and a shifting Bacteria population. Acetobacterium spp. were the most abundant Bacteria on the cathode when acetogenesis dominated. Methane was generally the dominant product with rates increasing from <1 to 7 mM day(-1) (per cathode liquid volume) and was concomitantly produced with acetate and hydrogen. Acetogenesis increased to >4 mM day(-1) (accumulated to 28.5 mM over 12 days), and methanogenesis ceased following the addition of 2-bromoethanesulfonic acid. Traces of hydrogen accumulated during initial selection and subsequently accelerated to >11 mM day(-1) (versus 0.045 mM day(-1) abiotic production). The hypothesis of electrosynthetic biocatalysis occurring at the microbe-electrode interface was supported by a catalytic wave (midpoint potential of -460 mV versus SHE) in cyclic voltammetry scans of the biocathode, the lack of redox active components in the medium, and the generation of comparatively high amounts of products (even after medium exchange). In addition, the volumetric production rates of these three commodity chemicals are marked improvements for electrosynthesis, advancing the process toward economic feasibility.


September 22, 2019  |  

Analysis of the gut microbial diversity of dairy cows during peak lactation by PacBio Single-Molecule Real-Time (SMRT) Sequencing.

The gut microbes of dairy cows are strongly associated with their health, but the relationship between milk production and the intestinal microbiota has seldom been studied. Thus, we explored the diversity of the intestinal microbiota during peak lactation of dairy cows.The intestinal microbiota of nine dairy cows at peak lactation was evaluated using the Pacific Biosciences single-molecule real-time (PacBio SMRT) sequencing approach.A total of 32,670 high-quality 16S rRNA gene sequences were obtained, belonging to 12 phyla, 59 families, 107 genera, and 162 species. Firmicutes (83%) were the dominant phylum, while Bacteroides (6.16%) was the dominant genus. All samples showed a high microbial diversity, with numerous genera of short chain fatty acid (SCFA)-producers. The proportion of SCFA producers was relatively high in relation to the identified core intestinal microbiota. Moreover, the predicted functional metagenome was heavily involved in energy metabolism.This study provided novel insights into the link between the dairy cow gut microbiota and milk production.


September 22, 2019  |  

Recent insights into the tick microbiome gained through next-generation sequencing.

The tick microbiome comprises communities of microorganisms, including viruses, bacteria and eukaryotes, and is being elucidated through modern molecular techniques. The advent of next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies has enabled the genes and genomes within these microbial communities to be explored in a rapid and cost-effective manner. The advantages of using NGS to investigate microbiomes surpass the traditional non-molecular methods that are limited in their sensitivity, and conventional molecular approaches that are limited in their scalability. In recent years the number of studies using NGS to investigate the microbial diversity and composition of ticks has expanded. Here, we provide a review of NGS strategies for tick microbiome studies and discuss the recent findings from tick NGS investigations, including the bacterial diversity and composition, influential factors, and implications of the tick microbiome.


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