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Bibliography on: Biodiversity and Metagenomics

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Biodiversity and Metagenomics

If evolution is the only light in which biology makes sense, and if variation is the raw material upon which selection works, then variety is not merely the spice of life, it is the essence of life — the sine qua non without which life could not exist. To understand biology, one must understand its diversity. Historically, studies of biodiversity were directed primarily at the realm of multicellular eukaryotes, since few tools existed to allow the study of non-eukaryotes. Because metagenomics allows the study of intact microbial communities, without requiring individual cultures, it provides a tool for understanding this huge, hitherto invisible pool of biodiversity, whether it occurs in free-living communities or in commensal microbiomes associated with larger organisms.

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Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)

citation: 1

Wilson JJ, Brandon-Mong GJ, Gan HM, et al (2018)

High-throughput terrestrial biodiversity assessments: mitochondrial metabarcoding, metagenomics or metatranscriptomics?.

Mitochondrial DNA. Part A, DNA mapping, sequencing, and analysis [Epub ahead of print].

Consensus on the optimal high-throughput sequencing (HTS) approach to examine biodiversity in mixed terrestrial arthropod samples has not been reached. Metatranscriptomics could increase the proportion of taxonomically informative mitochondrial reads in HTS outputs but has not been investigated for terrestrial arthropod samples. We compared the efficiency of 16S rRNA metabarcoding, metagenomics and metatranscriptomics for detecting species in a mixed terrestrial arthropod sample (pooled DNA/RNA from 38 taxa). 16S rRNA metabarcoding and nuclear rRNA-depleted metatranscriptomics had the highest detection rate with 97% of input species detected. Based on cytochrome c oxidase I, metagenomics had the highest detection rate with 82% of input species detected, but metatranscriptomics produced a larger proportion of reads matching (Sanger) reference sequences. Metatranscriptomics with nuclear rRNA depletion may offer advantages over metabarcoding through reducing the number of spurious operational taxonomic units while retaining high detection rates, and offers natural enrichment of mitochondrial sequences which may enable increased species detection rates compared with metagenomics.

citation: 2

Rua CPJ, de Oliveira LS, Froes A, et al (2018)

Microbial and Functional Biodiversity Patterns in Sponges that Accumulate Bromopyrrole Alkaloids Suggest Horizontal Gene Transfer of Halogenase Genes.

Microbial ecology pii:10.1007/s00248-018-1172-6 [Epub ahead of print].

Marine sponge holobionts harbor complex microbial communities whose members may be the true producers of secondary metabolites accumulated by sponges. Bromopyrrole alkaloids constitute a typical class of secondary metabolites isolated from sponges that very often display biological activities. Bromine incorporation into secondary metabolites can be catalyzed by either halogenases or haloperoxidases. The diversity of the metagenomes of sponge holobiont species containing bromopyrrole alkaloids (Agelas spp. and Tedania brasiliensis) as well as holobionts devoid of bromopyrrole alkaloids spanning in a vast biogeographic region (approx. Seven thousand km) was studied. The origin and specificity of the detected halogenases was also investigated. The holobionts Agelas spp. and T. brasiliensis did not share microbial halogenases, suggesting a species-specific pattern. Bacteria of diverse phylogenetic origins encoding halogenase genes were found to be more abundant in bromopyrrole-containing sponges. The sponge holobionts (e.g., Agelas spp.) with the greatest number of sequences related to clustered, interspaced, short, palindromic repeats (CRISPRs) exhibited the fewest phage halogenases, suggesting a possible mechanism of protection from phage infection by the sponge host. This study highlights the potential of phages to transport halogenases horizontally across host sponges, particularly in more permissive holobiont hosts, such as Tedania spp.

citation: 3

Wang C, Jiang K, Zhou J, et al (2018)

Solidago canadensis invasion affects soil N-fixing bacterial communities in heterogeneous landscapes in urban ecosystems in East China.

The Science of the total environment, 631-632:702-713 pii:S0048-9697(18)30815-5 [Epub ahead of print].

Soil nitrogen-fixing bacterial communities (SNB) can increase the level of available soil N via biological N-fixation to facilitate successful invasion of several invasive plant species (IPS). Meanwhile, landscape heterogeneity can greatly enhance regional invasibility and increase the chances of successful invasion of IPS. Thus, it is important to understand the soil micro-ecological mechanisms driving the successful invasion of IPS in heterogeneous landscapes. This study performed cross-site comparisons, via metagenomics, to comprehensively analyze the effects of Solidago canadensis invasion on SNB in heterogeneous landscapes in urban ecosystems. Rhizospheric soil samples of S. canadensis were obtained from nine urban ecosystems [Three replicate quadrats (including uninvaded sites and invaded sites) for each type of urban ecosystem]. S. canadensis invasion did not significantly affect soil physicochemical properties, the taxonomic diversity of plant communities, or the diversity and richness of SNB. However, some SNB taxa (i.e., f_Micromonosporaceae, f_Oscillatoriaceae, and f_Bacillaceae) changed significantly with S. canadensis invasion. Thus, S. canadensis invasion may alter the community structure, rather than the diversity and richness of SNB, to facilitate its invasion process. Of the nine urban ecosystems, the diversity and richness of SNB was highest in farmland wasteland. Accordingly, the community invasibility of farmland wasteland may be higher than that of the other types of urban ecosystem. In brief, landscape heterogeneity, rather than S. canadensis invasion, was the strongest controlling factor for the diversity and richness of SNB. One possible reason may be the differences in soil electrical conductivity and the taxonomic diversity of plant communities in the nine urban ecosystems, which can cause notable shifts in the diversity and richness of SNB.

citation: 4

Villamil SI, Huerlimann R, Morianos C, et al (2018)

Adverse effect of early-life high-fat/high-carbohydrate ("Western") diet on bacterial community in the distal bowel of mice.

Nutrition research (New York, N.Y.), 50:25-36.

Obesity and other lifestyle diseases in modern society can be related to historical dietary changes from diets balanced in omega-6 and omega-3 to the unbalanced "Western-type" diet. It is recognized that diet influences the murine and human gut microbiome, and most research indicates that microbial diversity and composition are altered by high-fat diets (HFDs). However, good knowledge about the effects of early exposure to HFD on the maturation and structure of the bacterial community is limited. Using mice as model, we hypothesized that an HFD alters the early dynamic of the gut bacterial community toward an unstable/unhealthy state. By sequencing the V3 and V4 regions of the 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid gene, we investigated the bacterial community in fecal samples of mice fed a control diet and an HFD at weaning (sampling time 1) and after 8 weeks of dietary intervention (11weeks of age; sampling time 2). Natural temporal microbiome maturation was evidenced by a general increase in microbial diversity and shifts in microbial community between sampling times 1 and 2 toward a mature community. However, the HFD led to significant structural segregation of the microbiome compared with controls; the HFD diet repressed health-enhancing bacteria (eg, Bifidobacterium and Akkermansia) and promoted health-detracting bacteria (ie, those associated with gut disorders, eg, Dorea). We suggest that early-life consumption of HFD negatively impacts the natural gut bacterial community maturation leading toward a potentially persistent unhealthy stage.

citation: 5

Andeta AF, Vandeweyer D, Woldesenbet F, et al (2018)

Fermentation of enset (Ensete ventricosum) in the Gamo highlands of Ethiopia: Physicochemical and microbial community dynamics.

Food microbiology, 73:342-350.

Enset (Ensete ventricosum) provides staple food for 15 million people in Ethiopia after fermentation into kocho. The fermentation process has hardly been investigated and is prone to optimization. The aim of this study was to investigate the physicochemical and microbial dynamics of fermentation practices in the Gamo highlands. These practices show local variation, but two steps were omnipresent: scraping of the pseudostem and fermenting it in a pit or a bamboo basket. Enset plants were fragmented and fermented for two months in order to investigate the physicochemical (temperature, moisture content, pH and titratable acidity) and microbial dynamics (total viable aerobic counts, counts of Enterobacteriaceae, lactic acid bacteria, yeasts and moulds and Clostridium spores counts, and Illumina Miseq sequencing). Samples were taken on days 1, 7, 15, 17, 31 and 60. The pH decreased, whereas the titratable acidity increased during fermentation. Of all counts those of lactic acid bacteria and Clostridium spores increased during fermentation. Leuconostoc mesenteroides initiated the fermentation. Later on, Prevotella paludivivens, Lactobacillus sp. and Bifidobacterium minimum dominated. These three species are potential candidates for the development of a starter culture.

citation: 6

Cuadrat RRC, Ionescu D, Dávila AMR, et al (2018)

Recovering Genomics Clusters of Secondary Metabolites from Lakes Using Genome-Resolved Metagenomics.

Frontiers in microbiology, 9:251.

Metagenomic approaches became increasingly popular in the past decades due to decreasing costs of DNA sequencing and bioinformatics development. So far, however, the recovery of long genes coding for secondary metabolites still represents a big challenge. Often, the quality of metagenome assemblies is poor, especially in environments with a high microbial diversity where sequence coverage is low and complexity of natural communities high. Recently, new and improved algorithms for binning environmental reads and contigs have been developed to overcome such limitations. Some of these algorithms use a similarity detection approach to classify the obtained reads into taxonomical units and to assemble draft genomes. This approach, however, is quite limited since it can classify exclusively sequences similar to those available (and well classified) in the databases. In this work, we used draft genomes from Lake Stechlin, north-eastern Germany, recovered by MetaBat, an efficient binning tool that integrates empirical probabilistic distances of genome abundance, and tetranucleotide frequency for accurate metagenome binning. These genomes were screened for secondary metabolism genes, such as polyketide synthases (PKS) and non-ribosomal peptide synthases (NRPS), using the Anti-SMASH and NAPDOS workflows. With this approach we were able to identify 243 secondary metabolite clusters from 121 genomes recovered from our lake samples. A total of 18 NRPS, 19 PKS, and 3 hybrid PKS/NRPS clusters were found. In addition, it was possible to predict the partial structure of several secondary metabolite clusters allowing for taxonomical classifications and phylogenetic inferences. Our approach revealed a high potential to recover and study secondary metabolites genes from any aquatic ecosystem.

citation: 7

Hu Y, Sanders JG, Łukasik P, et al (2018)

Herbivorous turtle ants obtain essential nutrients from a conserved nitrogen-recycling gut microbiome.

Nature communications, 9(1):964 pii:10.1038/s41467-018-03357-y.

Nitrogen acquisition is a major challenge for herbivorous animals, and the repeated origins of herbivory across the ants have raised expectations that nutritional symbionts have shaped their diversification. Direct evidence for N provisioning by internally housed symbionts is rare in animals; among the ants, it has been documented for just one lineage. In this study we dissect functional contributions by bacteria from a conserved, multi-partite gut symbiosis in herbivorous Cephalotes ants through in vivo experiments, metagenomics, and in vitro assays. Gut bacteria recycle urea, and likely uric acid, using recycled N to synthesize essential amino acids that are acquired by hosts in substantial quantities. Specialized core symbionts of 17 studied Cephalotes species encode the pathways directing these activities, and several recycle N in vitro. These findings point to a highly efficient N economy, and a nutritional mutualism preserved for millions of years through the derived behaviors and gut anatomy of Cephalotes ants.

citation: 8

Garrido-Sanz D, Manzano J, Martín M, et al (2018)

Metagenomic Analysis of a Biphenyl-Degrading Soil Bacterial Consortium Reveals the Metabolic Roles of Specific Populations.

Frontiers in microbiology, 9:232.

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are widespread persistent pollutants that cause several adverse health effects. Aerobic bioremediation of PCBs involves the activity of either one bacterial species or a microbial consortium. Using multiple species will enhance the range of PCB congeners co-metabolized since different PCB-degrading microorganisms exhibit different substrate specificity. We have isolated a bacterial consortium by successive enrichment culture using biphenyl (analog of PCBs) as the sole carbon and energy source. This consortium is able to grow on biphenyl, benzoate, and protocatechuate. Whole-community DNA extracted from the consortium was used to analyze biodiversity by Illumina sequencing of a 16S rRNA gene amplicon library and to determine the metagenome by whole-genome shotgun Illumina sequencing. Biodiversity analysis shows that the consortium consists of 24 operational taxonomic units (≥97% identity). The consortium is dominated by strains belonging to the genusPseudomonas, but also contains betaproteobacteria andRhodococcusstrains. whole-genome shotgun (WGS) analysis resulted in contigs containing 78.3 Mbp of sequenced DNA, representing around 65% of the expected DNA in the consortium. Bioinformatic analysis of this metagenome has identified the genes encoding the enzymes implicated in three pathways for the conversion of biphenyl to benzoate and five pathways from benzoate to tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle intermediates, allowing us to model the whole biodegradation network. By genus assignment of coding sequences, we have also been able to determine that the three biphenyl to benzoate pathways are carried out byRhodococcusstrains. In turn, strains belonging toPseudomonasandBordetellaare the main responsible of three of the benzoate to TCA pathways while the benzoate conversion into TCA cycle intermediates via benzoyl-CoA and the catechol meta-cleavage pathways are carried out by beta proteobacteria belonging to genera such asAchromobacterandVariovorax. We have isolated aRhodococcusstrain WAY2 from the consortium which contains the genes encoding the three biphenyl to benzoate pathways indicating that this strain is responsible for all the biphenyl to benzoate transformations. The presented results show that metagenomic analysis of consortia allows the identification of bacteria active in biodegradation processes and the assignment of specific reactions and pathways to specific bacterial groups.

citation: 9

He Z, Zhang P, Wu L, et al (2018)

Microbial Functional Gene Diversity Predicts Groundwater Contamination and Ecosystem Functioning.

mBio, 9(1): pii:mBio.02435-17.

Contamination from anthropogenic activities has significantly impacted Earth's biosphere. However, knowledge about how environmental contamination affects the biodiversity of groundwater microbiomes and ecosystem functioning remains very limited. Here, we used a comprehensive functional gene array to analyze groundwater microbiomes from 69 wells at the Oak Ridge Field Research Center (Oak Ridge, TN), representing a wide pH range and uranium, nitrate, and other contaminants. We hypothesized that the functional diversity of groundwater microbiomes would decrease as environmental contamination (e.g., uranium or nitrate) increased or at low or high pH, while some specific populations capable of utilizing or resistant to those contaminants would increase, and thus, such key microbial functional genes and/or populations could be used to predict groundwater contamination and ecosystem functioning. Our results indicated that functional richness/diversity decreased as uranium (but not nitrate) increased in groundwater. In addition, about 5.9% of specific key functional populations targeted by a comprehensive functional gene array (GeoChip 5) increased significantly (P< 0.05) as uranium or nitrate increased, and their changes could be used to successfully predict uranium and nitrate contamination and ecosystem functioning. This study indicates great potential for using microbial functional genes to predict environmental contamination and ecosystem functioning.IMPORTANCEDisentangling the relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning is an important but poorly understood topic in ecology. Predicting ecosystem functioning on the basis of biodiversity is even more difficult, particularly with microbial biomarkers. As an exploratory effort, this study used key microbial functional genes as biomarkers to provide predictive understanding of environmental contamination and ecosystem functioning. The results indicated that the overall functional gene richness/diversity decreased as uranium increased in groundwater, while specific key microbial guilds increased significantly as uranium or nitrate increased. These key microbial functional genes could be used to successfully predict environmental contamination and ecosystem functioning. This study represents a significant advance in using functional gene markers to predict the spatial distribution of environmental contaminants and ecosystem functioning toward predictive microbial ecology, which is an ultimate goal of microbial ecology.

citation: 10

Wang J, Tang L, Zhou H, et al (2018)

Long-term treatment with green tea polyphenols modifies the gut microbiome of female sprague-dawley rats.

The Journal of nutritional biochemistry, 56:55-64 pii:S0955-2863(17)30759-3 [Epub ahead of print].

Green tea polyphenols (GTP) have been shown to exert a spectrum of health benefits to animals and humans. It is plausible that the beneficial effects of GTP are a result of its interaction with the gut microbiota. This study evaluated the effect of long-term treatment with GTP on the gut microbiota of experimental rats and the potential linkage between changes of the gut microbiota with the beneficial effects of GTP. Six-month-old Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly allocated into three dosing regimens (0, 0.5%, and 1.5% of GTP) and followed for 6 months. At the end of month 3 or month 6, half of the animals from each group were sacrificed and their colon contents were collected for microbiome analysis using 16S ribosomal RNA and shotgun metagenomic community sequencing. GTP treatment significantly decreased the biodiversity and modified the microbial community in a dose-dependent manner; similar patterns were observed at both sampling times. Multiple operational taxonomic units and phylotypes were modified: the phylotypes Bacteroidetes and Oscillospira, previously linked to the lean phenotype in human and animal studies, were enriched; and Peptostreptococcaceae previously linked to colorectal cancer phenotype was depleted in GTP treated groups in a dose-dependent manner. Several microbial gene orthologs were modified, among which genes related to energy production and conversion were consistently enriched in samples from month 6 in a dose-dependent manner. This study showed that long-term treatment with GTP induced a dose-dependent modification of the gut microbiome in experimental rats, which might be linked to beneficial effects of GTP.

citation: 11

Perfumo A, Banat IM, R Marchant (2018)

Going Green and Cold: Biosurfactants from Low-Temperature Environments to Biotechnology Applications.

Trends in biotechnology, 36(3):277-289.

Approximately 80% of the Earth's biosphere is cold, at an average temperature of 5°C, and is populated by a diversity of microorganisms that are a precious source of molecules with high biotechnological potential. Biosurfactants from cold-adapted organisms can interact with multiple physical phases - water, ice, hydrophobic compounds, and gases - at low and freezing temperatures and be used in sustainable (green) and low-energy-impact (cold) products and processes. We review the biodiversity of microbial biosurfactants produced in cold habitats and provide a perspective on the most promising future applications in environmental and industrial technologies. Finally, we encourage exploring the cryosphere for novel types of biosurfactants via both culture screening and functional metagenomics.

citation: 12

Fontana A, Campanaro S, Treu L, et al (2018)

Performance and genome-centric metagenomics of thermophilic single and two-stage anaerobic digesters treating cheese wastes.

Water research, 134:181-191.

The present research is the first comprehensive study regarding the thermophilic anaerobic degradation of cheese wastewater, which combines the evaluation of different reactor configurations (i.e. single and two-stage continuous stirred tank reactors) on the process efficiency and the in-depth characterization of the microbial community structure using genome-centric metagenomics. Both reactor configurations showed acidification problems under the tested organic loading rates (OLRs) of 3.6 and 2.4 g COD/L-reactor day and the hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 15 days. However, the two-stage design reached a methane yield equal to 95% of the theoretical value, in contrast with the single stage configuration, which reached a maximum of 33% of the theoretical methane yield. The metagenomic analysis identified 22 new population genomes and revealed that the microbial compositions between the two configurations were remarkably different, demonstrating a higher methanogenic biodiversity in the two-stage configuration. In fact, the acidogenic reactor of the serial configuration was almost solely composed by the lactose degrader Bifidobacterium crudilactis UC0001. The predictive functional analyses of the main population genomes highlighted specific metabolic pathways responsible for the AD process and the mechanisms of main intermediates production. Particularly, the acetate accumulation experienced by the single stage configuration was mainly correlated to the low abundant syntrophic acetate oxidizer Tepidanaerobacter acetatoxydans UC0018 and to the absence of aceticlastic methanogens.

citation: 13

Guirro M, Costa A, Gual-Grau A, et al (2018)

Multi-omics approach to elucidate the gut microbiota activity: Metaproteomics and metagenomics connection.

Electrophoresis [Epub ahead of print].

Over the last few years, the application of high-throughput meta-omics methods has provided great progress in improving the knowledge of the gut ecosystem and linking its biodiversity to host health conditions, offering complementary support to classical microbiology. Gut microbiota plays a crucial role in relevant diseases such as obesity or cardiovascular disease (CVD), and its regulation is closely influenced by several factors, such as dietary composition. In fact, polyphenol-rich diets are the most palatable treatment to prevent hypertension associated with CVD, although the polyphenol-microbiota interactions have not been completely elucidated. For this reason, the aim of this study was to evaluate microbiota effect in obese rats supplemented by hesperidin, after being fed with cafeteria or standard diet, using a multi meta-omics approaches combining strategy of metagenomics and metaproteomics analysis. We reported that cafeteria diet induces obesity, resulting in changes in the microbiota composition, which are related to functional alterations at proteome level. In addition, hesperidin supplementation alters microbiota diversity and also proteins involved in important metabolic pathways. Overall, going deeper into strategies to integrate omics sciences is necessary to understand the complex relationships between the host, gut microbiota, and diet.

citation: 14

Hester ER, Harpenslager SF, van Diggelen JMH, et al (2018)

Linking Nitrogen Load to the Structure and Function of Wetland Soil and Rhizosphere Microbial Communities.

mSystems, 3(1): pii:mSystems00214-17.

Wetland ecosystems are important reservoirs of biodiversity and significantly contribute to emissions of the greenhouse gases CO2, N2O, and CH4. High anthropogenic nitrogen (N) inputs from agriculture and fossil fuel combustion have been recognized as a severe threat to biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, such as control of greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, it is important to understand how increased N input into pristine wetlands affects the composition and activity of microorganisms, especially in interaction with dominant wetland plants. In a series of incubations analyzed over 90 days, we disentangled the effects of N fertilization on the microbial community in bulk soil and the rhizosphere ofJuncus acutiflorus, a common and abundant graminoid wetland plant. We observed an increase in greenhouse gas emissions when N is increased in incubations withJ. acutiflorus, changing the system from a greenhouse gas sink to a source. Using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing, we determined that the bacterial ordersOpitutales, subgroup 6Acidobacteria, andSphingobacterialessignificantly responded to high N availability. Based on metagenomic data, we hypothesize that these groups are contributing to the increased greenhouse gas emissions. These results indicated that increased N input leads to shifts in microbial activity within the rhizosphere, altering N cycling dynamics. Our study provides a framework for connecting environmental conditions of wetland bulk and rhizosphere soil to the structure and metabolic output of microbial communities.IMPORTANCEMicroorganisms living within the rhizospheres of wetland plants significantly contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Understanding how microbes produce these gases under conditions that have been imposed by human activities (i.e., nitrogen pollution) is important to the development of future management strategies. Our results illustrate that within the rhizosphere of the wetland plantJuncus acutiflorus, physiological differences associated with nitrogen availability can influence microbial activity linked to greenhouse gas production. By pairing taxonomic information and environmental conditions like nitrogen availability with functional outputs of a system such as greenhouse gas fluxes, we present a framework to link certain taxa to both nitrogen load and greenhouse gas production. We view this type of combined information as essential in moving forward in our understanding of complex systems such as rhizosphere microbial communities.

citation: 15

Carradec Q, Pelletier E, Da Silva C, et al (2018)

A global ocean atlas of eukaryotic genes.

Nature communications, 9(1):373 pii:10.1038/s41467-017-02342-1.

While our knowledge about the roles of microbes and viruses in the ocean has increased tremendously due to recent advances in genomics and metagenomics, research on marine microbial eukaryotes and zooplankton has benefited much less from these new technologies because of their larger genomes, their enormous diversity, and largely unexplored physiologies. Here, we use a metatranscriptomics approach to capture expressed genes in open ocean Tara Oceans stations across four organismal size fractions. The individual sequence reads cluster into 116 million unigenes representing the largest reference collection of eukaryotic transcripts from any single biome. The catalog is used to unveil functions expressed by eukaryotic marine plankton, and to assess their functional biogeography. Almost half of the sequences have no similarity with known proteins, and a great number belong to new gene families with a restricted distribution in the ocean. Overall, the resource provides the foundations for exploring the roles of marine eukaryotes in ocean ecology and biogeochemistry.

citation: 16

D'Auria G, Artacho A, Rojas RA, et al (2018)

Metagenomics of Bacterial Diversity in Villa Luz Caves with Sulfur Water Springs.

Genes, 9(1): pii:genes9010055.

New biotechnology applications require in-depth preliminary studies of biodiversity. The methods of massive sequencing using metagenomics and bioinformatics tools offer us sufficient and reliable knowledge to understand environmental diversity, to know new microorganisms, and to take advantage of their functional genes. Villa Luz caves, in the southern Mexican state of Tabasco, are fed by at least 26 groundwater inlets, containing 300-500 mg L-1 H2S and <0.1 mg L-1 O2. We extracted environmental DNA for metagenomic analysis of collected samples in five selected Villa Luz caves sites, with pH values from 2.5 to 7. Foreign organisms found in this underground ecosystem can oxidize H2S to H2SO4. These include: biovermiculites, a bacterial association that can grow on the rock walls; snottites, that are whitish, viscous biofilms hanging from the rock walls, and sacks or bags of phlegm, which live within the aquatic environment of the springs. Through the emergency food assistance program (TEFAP) pyrosequencing, a total of 20,901 readings of amplification products from hypervariable regions V1 and V3 of 16S rRNA bacterial gene in whole and pure metagenomic DNA samples were generated. Seven bacterial phyla were identified. As a result, Proteobacteria was more frequent than Acidobacteria. Finally, acidophilic Proteobacteria was detected in UJAT5 sample.

citation: 17

Cheng M, Zhang X, Zhu J, et al (2018)

A metagenomics approach to the intestinal microbiome structure and function in high fat diet-induced obesity mice fed with oolong tea polyphenols.

Food & function, 9(2):1079-1087.

To investigate the modulatory effect of oolong tea polyphenols (OTP) on intestinal microbiota, OTP was prepared by column chromatography and its influence on the gut flora structure was analyzed by high-throughput sequencing with a human flora-associated high fat diet (HFD) induced obesity mouse model. We observed a robust increase in bacterial biodiversity and the abundance of genera known to be butyrate- and acetate-producing bacteria. A large increase in Bacteroidetes with a decrease in Firmicutes was observed after the administration of OTP for 4 weeks, and the corresponding decrease in the Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio reflected the positive modulatory effect of OTP on the intestinal microbiota. In addition, KEGG pathways for the biosynthesis of amino acids, carbon metabolism, and the ribosome were among the most differentially expressed genes after OTP intervention. The current study revealed that OTP rich in tea catechins, especially O-methylated derivatives, may have prebiotic-like activity and can be used as a functional food component with potential therapeutic utility to prevent obesity-related metabolic disorders by manipulating the intestinal microbiota.

citation: 18

Bzhalava Z, Hultin E, J Dillner (2018)

Extension of the viral ecology in humans using viral profile hidden Markov models.

PloS one, 13(1):e0190938 pii:PONE-D-17-38987.

When human samples are sequenced, many assembled contigs are "unknown", as conventional alignments find no similarity to known sequences. Hidden Markov models (HMM) exploit the positions of specific nucleotides in protein-encoding codons in various microbes. The algorithm HMMER3 implements HMM using a reference set of sequences encoding viral proteins, "vFam". We used HMMER3 analysis of "unknown" human sample-derived sequences and identified 510 contigs distantly related to viruses (Anelloviridae (n = 1), Baculoviridae (n = 34), Circoviridae (n = 35), Caulimoviridae (n = 3), Closteroviridae (n = 5), Geminiviridae (n = 21), Herpesviridae (n = 10), Iridoviridae (n = 12), Marseillevirus (n = 26), Mimiviridae (n = 80), Phycodnaviridae (n = 165), Poxviridae (n = 23), Retroviridae (n = 6) and 89 contigs related to described viruses not yet assigned to any taxonomic family). In summary, we find that analysis using the HMMER3 algorithm and the "vFam" database greatly extended the detection of viruses in biospecimens from humans.

citation: 19

Soliman T, Reimer JD, Yang SY, et al (2017)

Diversity of Microbial Communities and Quantitative Chemodiversity in Layers of Marine Sediment Cores from a Causeway (Kaichu-Doro) in Okinawa Island, Japan.

Frontiers in microbiology, 8:2451.

Microbial community diversity and chemodiversity were investigated in marine sediments adjacent to the Okinawan "Kaichu-Doro" Causeway, which was constructed 46 years ago to connect a group of four islands (Henza-jima, Miyagi-jima, Ikei-jima, Hamahiga-jima) to the Okinawan main island. This causeway was not built on pilings, but by land reclamation; hence, it now acts as a long, thin peninsula. The construction of this causeway was previously shown to have influenced the surrounding marine ecosystem, causing ecosystem fragmentation and loss of water circulation. In this study, we collected sediment cores (n= 10) from five paired sites in 1 m water depths. Each pair of sites consisted of one site each on the immediate north and south sides of the causeway. Originally the members of each pair were much closer to each other (<150 m) than to other pairs, but now the members of each pair are isolated by the causeway. Each core was 60-80 cm long and was divided into 15-cm layers. We examined the vertical diversity of microbial communities and chemical compounds to determine the correlation between chemodiversity and microbial communities among marine sediment cores and layers. Principal coordinate analyses (PCoA) of detected compounds and of bacterial and archaeal operational taxonomic units (OTUs) revealed that the north and south sides of the causeway are relatively isolated, with each side having unique microbial OTUs. Additionally, some bacterial families (e.g., Acidaminobacteraceae, Rhizobiaceae, and Xanthomonadaceae) were found only on the south side of Kaichu-Doro. Interestingly, we found that the relative abundance of OTUs for some microbial families increased from top to bottom, but this was reversed in some other families. We conclude that the causeway has altered microbial community composition and metabolite profiles in marine sediments.

citation: 20

Karimi E, Ramos M, Gonçalves JMS, et al (2017)

Comparative Metagenomics Reveals the Distinctive Adaptive Features of theSpongia officinalisEndosymbiotic Consortium.

Frontiers in microbiology, 8:2499.

Current knowledge of sponge microbiome functioning derives mostly from comparative analyses with bacterioplankton communities. We employed a metagenomics-centered approach to unveil the distinct features of theSpongia officinalisendosymbiotic consortium in the context of its two primary environmental vicinities. Microbial metagenomic DNA samples (n= 10) from sponges, seawater, and sediments were subjected to Hiseq Illumina sequencing (c.15 million 100 bp reads per sample). Totals of 10,272 InterPro (IPR) predicted protein entries and 784 rRNA gene operational taxonomic units (OTUs, 97% cut-off) were uncovered from all metagenomes. Despite the large divergence in microbial community assembly between the surveyed biotopes, theS. officinalissymbiotic community shared slightly greater similarity (p< 0.05), in terms of both taxonomy and function, to sediment than to seawater communities. The vast majority of the dominantS. officinalissymbionts (i.e., OTUs), representing several, so-far uncultivable lineages in diverse bacterial phyla, displayed higher residual abundances in sediments than in seawater. CRISPR-Cas proteins and restriction endonucleases presented much higher frequencies (accompanied by lower viral abundances) in sponges than in the environment. However, several genomic features sharply enriched in the sponge specimens, including eukaryotic-like repeat motifs (ankyrins, tetratricopeptides, WD-40, and leucine-rich repeats), and genes encoding for plasmids, sulfatases, polyketide synthases, type IV secretion proteins, and terpene/terpenoid synthases presented, to varying degrees, higher frequencies in sediments than in seawater. In contrast, much higher abundances of motility and chemotaxis genes were found in sediments and seawater than in sponges. Higher cell and surface densities, sponge cell shedding and particle uptake, and putative chemical signaling processes favoring symbiont persistence in particulate matrices all may act as mechanisms underlying the observed degrees of taxonomic connectivity and functional convergence between sponges and sediments. The reduced frequency of motility and chemotaxis genes in the sponge microbiome reinforces the notion of a prevalent mutualistic mode of living inside the host. This study highlights theS. officinalis"endosymbiome" as a distinct consortium of uncultured prokaryotes displaying a likely "sit-and-wait" strategy to nutrient foraging coupled to sophisticated anti-viral defenses, unique natural product biosynthesis, nutrient utilization and detoxification capacities, and both microbe-microbe and host-microbe gene transfer amenability.

citation: 21

Krehenwinkel H, Fong M, Kennedy S, et al (2018)

The effect of DNA degradation bias in passive sampling devices on metabarcoding studies of arthropod communities and their associated microbiota.

PloS one, 13(1):e0189188 pii:PONE-D-17-30685.

PCR amplification bias is a well-known problem in metagenomic analysis of arthropod communities. In contrast, variation of DNA degradation rates is a largely neglected source of bias. Differential degradation of DNA molecules could cause underrepresentation of taxa in a community sequencing sample. Arthropods are often collected by passive sampling devices, like malaise traps. Specimens in such a trap are exposed to varying periods of suboptimal storage and possibly different rates of DNA degradation. Degradation bias could thus be a significant issue, skewing diversity estimates. Here, we estimate the effect of differential DNA degradation on the recovery of community diversity of Hawaiian arthropods and their associated microbiota. We use a simple DNA size selection protocol to test for degradation bias in mock communities, as well as passively collected samples from actual Malaise traps. We compare the effect of DNA degradation to that of varying PCR conditions, including primer choice, annealing temperature and cycle number. Our results show that DNA degradation does indeed bias community analyses. However, the effect of this bias is of minor importance compared to that induced by changes in PCR conditions. Analyses of the macro and microbiome from passively collected arthropod samples are thus well worth pursuing.

citation: 22

Herath D, Tang SL, Tandon K, et al (2017)

CoMet: a workflow using contig coverage and composition for binning a metagenomic sample with high precision.

BMC bioinformatics, 18(Suppl 16):571 pii:10.1186/s12859-017-1967-3.

BACKGROUND: In metagenomics, the separation of nucleotide sequences belonging to an individual or closely matched populations is termed binning. Binning helps the evaluation of underlying microbial population structure as well as the recovery of individual genomes from a sample of uncultivable microbial organisms. Both supervised and unsupervised learning methods have been employed in binning; however, characterizing a metagenomic sample containing multiple strains remains a significant challenge. In this study, we designed and implemented a new workflow, Coverage and composition based binning of Metagenomes (CoMet), for binning contigs in a single metagenomic sample. CoMet utilizes coverage values and the compositional features of metagenomic contigs. The binning strategy in CoMet includes the initial grouping of contigs in guanine-cytosine (GC) content-coverage space and refinement of bins in tetranucleotide frequencies space in a purely unsupervised manner. With CoMet, the clustering algorithm DBSCAN is employed for binning contigs. The performances of CoMet were compared against four existing approaches for binning a single metagenomic sample, including MaxBin, Metawatt, MyCC (default) and MyCC (coverage) using multiple datasets including a sample comprised of multiple strains.

RESULTS: Binning methods based on both compositional features and coverages of contigs had higher performances than the method which is based only on compositional features of contigs. CoMet yielded higher or comparable precision in comparison to the existing binning methods on benchmark datasets of varying complexities. MyCC (coverage) had the highest ranking score in F1-score. However, the performances of CoMet were higher than MyCC (coverage) on the dataset containing multiple strains. Furthermore, CoMet recovered contigs of more species and was 18 - 39% higher in precision than the compared existing methods in discriminating species from the sample of multiple strains. CoMet resulted in higher precision than MyCC (default) and MyCC (coverage) on a real metagenome.

CONCLUSIONS: The approach proposed with CoMet for binning contigs, improves the precision of binning while characterizing more species in a single metagenomic sample and in a sample containing multiple strains. The F1-scores obtained from different binning strategies vary with different datasets; however, CoMet yields the highest F1-score with a sample comprised of multiple strains.

citation: 23

Villegas LEM, Campolina TB, Barnabe NR, et al (2018)

Zika virus infection modulates the bacterial diversity associated with Aedes aegypti as revealed by metagenomic analysis.

PloS one, 13(1):e0190352 pii:PONE-D-17-30074.

Zika is a re-emerging infection that has been considered a major threat to global public health. Currently at least 100 countries are at risk of Zika virus (ZIKV) transmission. Aedes aegypti is the main mosquito vector in the Americas. This vector is exposed to, and interacts symbiotically with a variety of microorganisms in its environment, which may result in the formation of a lifetime association. Here, the unknown effect that ZIKV exerts on the dynamic bacterial community harbored by this mosquito vector was investigated using a metagenomic analysis of its microbiota. Groups of Ae. aegypti were experimentally fed on sugar, blood and blood mixed with ZIKV, and held for 3 to 7 days after blood meal and eggs development respectively. The infected groups were processed by qPCR to confirm the presence of ZIKV. All groups were analyzed by metagenomics (Illumina Hiseq Sequencing) and 16S rRNA amplicon sequences were obtained to create bacterial taxonomic profiles. A core microbiota and exclusive bacterial taxa were identified that incorporate 50.5% of the predicted reads from the dataset, with 40 Gram-negative and 9 Gram-positive families. To address how ZIKV invasion may disturb the ecological balance of the Ae. aegypti microbiota, a CCA analysis coupled with an explanatory matrix was performed to support the biological interpretation of shifts in bacterial signatures. Two f-OTUs appeared as potential biomarkers of ZIKV infection: Rhodobacteraceae and Desulfuromonadaceae. Coincidentally, both f-OTUs were exclusively present in the ZIKV- infected blood-fed and ZIKV- infected gravid groups. In conclusion, this study shows that bacterial symbionts act as biomarkers of the insect physiological states and how they respond as a community when ZIKV invades Ae. aegypti. Basic knowledge of local haematophagous vectors and their associated microbiota is relevant when addressing transmission of vector-borne infectious diseases in their regional surroundings.

citation: 24

Porter TM, M Hajibabaei (2018)

Scaling up: A guide to high-throughput genomic approaches for biodiversity analysis.

Molecular ecology, 27(2):313-338.

The purpose of this review is to present the most common and emerging DNA-based methods used to generate data for biodiversity and biomonitoring studies. As environmental assessment and monitoring programmes may require biodiversity information at multiple levels, we pay particular attention to the DNA metabarcoding method and discuss a number of bioinformatic tools and considerations for producing DNA-based indicators using operational taxonomic units (OTUs), taxa at a variety of ranks and community composition. By developing the capacity to harness the advantages provided by the newest technologies, investigators can "scale up" by increasing the number of samples and replicates processed, the frequency of sampling over time and space, and even the depth of sampling such as by sequencing more reads per sample or more markers per sample. The ability to scale up is made possible by the reduced hands-on time and cost per sample provided by the newest kits, platforms and software tools. Results gleaned from broad-scale monitoring will provide opportunities to address key scientific questions linked to biodiversity and its dynamics across time and space as well as being more relevant for policymakers, enabling science-based decision-making, and provide a greater socio-economic impact. As genomic approaches are continually evolving, we provide this guide to methods used in biodiversity genomics.

citation: 25

Laenen L, Vergote V, Kafetzopoulou LE, et al (2018)

A Novel Hantavirus of the European Mole, Bruges Virus, Is Involved in Frequent Nova Virus Coinfections.

Genome biology and evolution, 10(1):45-55.

Hantaviruses are zoonotic viruses with a complex evolutionary history of virus-host coevolution and cross-species transmission. Although hantaviruses have a broad reservoir host range, virus-host relationships were previously thought to be strict, with a single virus species infecting a single host species. Here, we describe Bruges virus, a novel hantavirus harbored by the European mole (Talpa europaea), which is the well-known host of Nova virus. Phylogenetic analyses of all three genomic segments showed tree topology inconsistencies, suggesting that Bruges virus has emerged from cross-species transmission and ancient reassortment events. A high number of coinfections with Bruges and Nova viruses was detected, but no evidence was found for reassortment between these two hantaviruses. These findings highlight the complexity of hantavirus evolution and the importance of further investigation of hantavirus-reservoir relationships.

citation: 26

Camacho-Ortiz A, Gutiérrez-Delgado EM, Garcia-Mazcorro JF, et al (2017)

Randomized clinical trial to evaluate the effect of fecal microbiota transplant for initial Clostridium difficile infection in intestinal microbiome.

PloS one, 12(12):e0189768 pii:PONE-D-17-20439.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of fecal donor-unrelated donor mix (FMT-FURM) transplantation as first-line therapy for C. difficile infection (CDI) in intestinal microbiome.

METHODS: We designed an open, two-arm pilot study with oral vancomycin (250mg every 6 h for 10-14 days) or FMT-FURM as treatments for the first CDI episode in hospitalized adult patients in Hospital Universitario "Dr. Jose Eleuterio Gonzalez". Patients were randomized by a closed envelope method in a 1: 1 ratio to either oral vancomycin or FMT-FURM. CDI resolution was considered when there was a reduction on the Bristol scale of at least 2 points, a reduction of at least 50% in the number of bowel movements, absence of fever, and resolution of abdominal pain (at least two criteria). From each patient, a fecal sample was obtained at days 0, 3, and 7 after treatment. Specimens were cultured to isolate C. difficile, and isolates were characterized by PCR. Susceptibility testing of isolates was performed using the agar dilution method. Fecal samples and FMT-FURM were analyzed by 16S rRNA sequencing.

RESULTS: We included 19 patients; 10 in the vancomycin arm and 9 in the FMT-FURM arm. However, one of the patients in the vancomycin arm and two patients in the FMT-FURM arm were eliminated. Symptoms resolved in 8/9 patients (88.9%) in the vancomycin group, while symptoms resolved in 4/7 patients (57.1%) after the first FMT-FURM dose (P = 0.26) and in 5/7 patients (71.4%) after the second dose (P = 0.55). During the study, no adverse effects attributable to FMT-FURM were observed in patients. Twelve isolates were recovered, most isolates carried tcdB, tcdA, cdtA, and cdtB, with an 18-bp deletion in tcdC. All isolates were resistant to ciprofloxacin and moxifloxacin but susceptible to metronidazole, linezolid, fidaxomicin, and tetracycline. In the FMT-FURM group, the bacterial composition was dominated by Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, and Proteobacteria at all-time points and the microbiota were remarkably stable over time. The vancomycin group showed a very different pattern of the microbial composition when comparing to the FMT-FURM group over time.

CONCLUSION: The results of this preliminary study showed that FMT-FURM for initial CDI is associated with specific bacterial communities that do not resemble the donors' sample.

citation: 27

Cowart DA, Murphy KR, CC Cheng (2018)

Metagenomic sequencing of environmental DNA reveals marine faunal assemblages from the West Antarctic Peninsula.

Marine genomics, 37:148-160.

The West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) is the fastest warming region in Antarctica where climate impact on the cold-adapted marine ecosystem is already visible. To monitor faunal changes in remote vast bodies of Antarctic waters, efficient and informative tools are essential. High-throughput sequencing of environmental DNA (eDNA) has emerged as one such tool for monitoring biodiversity and ecosystems, as it increases detection sensitivity of taxa, and sampling is often simpler and less costly than traditional collection methods. We collected water samples from four WAP shallow (≤300m) shelf regions, recovered the eDNA therein, and performed metagenomic shotgun sequencing and analyses to determine the effectiveness of this method to assess marine benthic faunal diversity; this includes the detection of deep-water predatory king crabs whose potential shoreward expansion to warming shelves has sparked much concern. Using a customized bioinformatics pipeline, we identified abundant signatures of common benthic invertebrate fauna, endemic notothenioid fishes, as well as lithodid king crabs. We also uncovered species richness and diversity comparable to biological inventories compiled by the use of traditional survey methods, supporting the efficacy of the eDNA shotgun sequencing approach. As the rate of eDNA degradation affects faunal detection sensitivity, we also quantified mitochondrial ND2 gene copies in eDNA derived from a WAP icefish and found ND2 copies persisted to at least 20days in the cold WAP water, much longer than values reported for temperate environments. We propose that eDNA metagenomic sequencing complements traditional sampling, and combining both will enable more inclusive biodiversity detection and faunal change monitoring in the vast Southern Ocean.

citation: 28

Dong X, Shulzhenko N, Lemaitre J, et al (2017)

Arsenic exposure and intestinal microbiota in children from Sirajdikhan, Bangladesh.

PloS one, 12(12):e0188487 pii:PONE-D-16-37799.

BACKGROUND: Arsenic has antimicrobial properties at high doses yet few studies have examined its effect on gut microbiota. This warrants investigation since arsenic exposure increases the risk of many diseases in which gut microbiota have been shown to play a role. We examined the association between arsenic exposure from drinking water and the composition of intestinal microbiota in children exposed to low and high arsenic levels during prenatal development and early life.

RESULTS: 16S rRNA gene sequencing revealed that children with high arsenic exposure had a higher abundance of Proteobacteria in their stool compared to matched controls with low arsenic exposure. Furthermore, whole metagenome shotgun sequencing identified 332 bacterial SEED functions that were enriched in the high exposure group. A separate model showed that these genes, which included genes involved in virulence and multidrug resistance, were positively correlated with arsenic concentration within the group of children in the high arsenic group. We performed reference free genome assembly, and identified strains of E.coli as contributors to the arsenic enriched SEED functions. Further genome annotation of the E.coli genome revealed two strains containing two different arsenic resistance operons that are not present in the gut microbiome of a recently described European human cohort (Metagenomics of the Human Intestinal Tract, MetaHIT). We then performed quantification by qPCR of two arsenic resistant genes (ArsB, ArsC). We observed that the expression of these two operons was higher among the children with high arsenic exposure compared to matched controls.

CONCLUSIONS: This preliminary study indicates that arsenic exposure early in life was associated with altered gut microbiota in Bangladeshi children. The enrichment of E.coli arsenic resistance genes in the high exposure group provides an insight into the possible mechanisms of how this toxic compound could affect gut microbiota.

citation: 29

Coles VJ, Stukel MR, Brooks MT, et al (2017)

Ocean biogeochemistry modeled with emergent trait-based genomics.

Science (New York, N.Y.), 358(6367):1149-1154.

Marine ecosystem models have advanced to incorporate metabolic pathways discovered with genomic sequencing, but direct comparisons between models and "omics" data are lacking. We developed a model that directly simulates metagenomes and metatranscriptomes for comparison with observations. Model microbes were randomly assigned genes for specialized functions, and communities of 68 species were simulated in the Atlantic Ocean. Unfit organisms were replaced, and the model self-organized to develop community genomes and transcriptomes. Emergent communities from simulations that were initialized with different cohorts of randomly generated microbes all produced realistic vertical and horizontal ocean nutrient, genome, and transcriptome gradients. Thus, the library of gene functions available to the community, rather than the distribution of functions among specific organisms, drove community assembly and biogeochemical gradients in the model ocean.

citation: 30

Dovrolis N, Kolios G, Spyrou GM, et al (2017)

Computational profiling of the gut-brain axis: microflora dysbiosis insights to neurological disorders.

Briefings in bioinformatics pii:4665690 [Epub ahead of print].

Almost 2500 years after Hippocrates' observations on health and its direct association to the gastrointestinal tract, a paradigm shift has recently occurred, making the gut and its symbionts (bacteria, fungi, archaea and viruses) a point of convergence for studies. It is nowadays well established that the gut microflora's compositional diversity regulates via its genes (the microbiome) the host's health and provides preliminary insights into disease progression and regulation. The microbiome's involvement is evident in immunological and physiological studies that link changes in its biodiversity to its contributions to the host's phenotype but also in neurological investigations, substantiating the aptly named gut-brain axis. The definitive mechanisms of this last bidirectional interaction will be our main focus because it presents researchers with a new conundrum. In this review, we prospect current literature for computational analysis methodologies that accommodate the need for better understanding of the microbiome-gut-brain interactions and neurological disorder onset and progression, through cross-disciplinary systems biology applications. We will present bioinformatics tools used in exploring these synergies that help build and interpret microbial 16S ribosomal RNA data sets, produced by shotgun and high-throughput sequencing of healthy and neurological disorder samples stored in biological databases. These approaches provide alternative means for researchers to form hypotheses to their inquests faster, cheaper and swith precision. The goal of these studies relies on the integration of combined metagenomics and metabolomics assessments. An accurate characterization of the microbiome and its functionality can support new diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic strategies for neurological disorders, customized for each individual host.

citation: 31

Heintz-Buschart A, P Wilmes (2017)

Human Gut Microbiome: Function Matters.

Trends in microbiology pii:S0966-842X(17)30251-2 [Epub ahead of print].

The human gut microbiome represents a complex ecosystem contributing essential functions to its host. Recent large-scale metagenomic studies have provided insights into its structure and functional potential. However, the functional repertoire which is actually contributed to human physiology remains largely unexplored. Here, by leveraging recent omics datasets, we challenge current assumptions regarding key attributes of the functional gut microbiome, in particular with respect to its variability. We further argue that the closing of existing gaps in functional knowledge should be addressed by a most-wanted gene list, the development and application of molecular and cellular high-throughput measurements, the development and sensible use of experimental models, as well as the direct study of observable molecular effects in the human host.

citation: 32

Maier L, A Typas (2017)

Systematically investigating the impact of medication on the gut microbiome.

Current opinion in microbiology, 39:128-135.

In the recent years, there is accumulating evidence for a strong impact of medication on the gut microbiota composition. This evidence comes from metagenomics-based associations and extends beyond classical antibacterials to a handful of human-targeted drugs. To answer whether such effects are direct and explore their consequences in human health, we need to develop experimental platforms that will allow for systematic profiling of drug-microbiota interactions. Here, we discuss approaches, considerations, experimental setups and strategies that can be used to tackle this need, but can be also readily transmitted to related questions in the microbiome field. A comprehensive understanding of how therapeutics interact with gut microbes will open up the path for further mechanistic dissection of such interactions, and ultimately improve not only our understanding of the gut microbiome, but also drug safety and efficacy.

citation: 33

Cabello-Yeves PJ, Ghai R, Mehrshad M, et al (2017)

Reconstruction of Diverse Verrucomicrobial Genomes from Metagenome Datasets of Freshwater Reservoirs.

Frontiers in microbiology, 8:2131.

The phylumVerrucomicrobiacontains freshwater representatives which remain poorly studied at the genomic, taxonomic, and ecological levels. In this work we present eighteen new reconstructed verrucomicrobial genomes from two freshwater reservoirs located close to each other (Tous and Amadorio, Spain). These metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) display a remarkable taxonomic diversity inside the phylum and comprise wide ranges of estimated genome sizes (from 1.8 to 6 Mb). Among allVerrucomicrobiastudied we found some of the smallest genomes of the Spartobacteria and Opitutae classes described so far. Some of the Opitutae family MAGs were small, cosmopolitan, with a general heterotrophic metabolism with preference for carbohydrates, and capable of xylan, chitin, or cellulose degradation. Besides, we assembled large copiotroph genomes, which contain a higher number of transporters, polysaccharide degrading pathways and in general more strategies for the uptake of nutrients and carbohydrate-based metabolic pathways in comparison with the representatives with the smaller genomes. The diverse genomes revealed interesting features like green-light absorbing rhodopsins and a complete set of genes involved in nitrogen fixation. The large diversity in genome sizes and physiological properties emphasize the diversity of this clade in freshwaters enlarging even further the already broad eco-physiological range of these microbes.

citation: 34

Silbande A, Adenet S, Chopin C, et al (2018)

Effect of vacuum and modified atmosphere packaging on the microbiological, chemical and sensory properties of tropical red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) fillets stored at 4°C.

International journal of food microbiology, 266:31-41.

AIMS: The effect of vacuum (VP - 4°C) and CO2/N2-atmosphere (MAP - 4°C) packaging on the quality of red drum fillets compared with whole gutted iced fish was investigated.

METHODS AND RESULTS: A metagenomic approach, bacterial enumeration and isolation, biochemical and sensory analyses were carried out. The organoleptic rejection of whole fish was observed at day 15 whereas VP and MAP fillets appeared unacceptable only after 29days. At these dates, total mesophilic counts reached 107-108CFU g-1. According to Illumina MiSeq sequencing, Arthrobacter, Chryseobacterium, Brevibacterium, Staphylococcus and Kocuria were the main genera of the fresh red drum fillets. At the sensory rejection time, lactic acid bacteria (LAB), particularly Carnobacterium sp., dominated the microbiota of both types of packaging. The pH value of fresh samples was between 5.96 and 6.37 and did not vary greatly in all trials. Total volatile basic nitrogen (TVBN) and trimethylamine (TMA) concentrations were low and not represent reliable indicators of the spoilage, contrary to some biogenic amines (cadaverine, putrescine and tyramine).

CONCLUSION: Chilled packed fillets of red drum have an extended shelf-life compared to whole gutted iced fish. Overall, few differences in sensory and microbial quality were observed between the VP and MAP samples.

Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) provided data on the microbiota of a tropical fish.

citation: 35

Fonseca JP, Hoffmann L, Cabral BCA, et al (2018)

Contrasting the microbiomes from forest rhizosphere and deeper bulk soil from an Amazon rainforest reserve.

Gene, 642:389-397.

Pristine forest ecosystems provide a unique perspective for the study of plant-associated microbiota since they host a great microbial diversity. Although the Amazon forest is one of the hotspots of biodiversity around the world, few metagenomic studies described its microbial community diversity thus far. Understanding the environmental factors that can cause shifts in microbial profiles is key to improving soil health and biogeochemical cycles. Here we report a taxonomic and functional characterization of the microbiome from the rhizosphere of Brosimum guianense (Snakewood), a native tree, and bulk soil samples from a pristine Brazilian Amazon forest reserve (Cuniã), for the first time by the shotgun approach. We identified several fungi and bacteria taxon significantly enriched in forest rhizosphere compared to bulk soil samples. For archaea, the trend was the opposite, with many archaeal phylum and families being considerably more enriched in bulk soil compared to forest rhizosphere. Several fungal and bacterial decomposers like Postia placenta and Catenulispora acidiphila which help maintain healthy forest ecosystems were found enriched in our samples. Other bacterial species involved in nitrogen (Nitrobacter hamburgensis and Rhodopseudomonas palustris) and carbon cycling (Oligotropha carboxidovorans) were overrepresented in our samples indicating the importance of these metabolic pathways for the Amazon rainforest reserve soil health. Hierarchical clustering based on taxonomic similar microbial profiles grouped the forest rhizosphere samples in a distinct clade separated from bulk soil samples. Principal coordinate analysis of our samples with publicly available metagenomes from the Amazon region showed grouping into specific rhizosphere and bulk soil clusters, further indicating distinct microbial community profiles. In this work, we reported significant shifts in microbial community structure between forest rhizosphere and bulk soil samples from an Amazon forest reserve that are probably caused by more than one environmental factors such as rhizosphere and soil depth.

citation: 36

Herzog B, Dötsch A, Lemmer H, et al (2017)

Profiling 5-tolyltriazole biodegrading sludge communities using next-generation sequencing and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis.

Systematic and applied microbiology, 40(8):508-515.

Efficient biodegradation of 5-tolyltriazole (5-TTri) in wastewater treatment would minimize its potential detrimental effects on aquatic systems. Therefore, in order to profile 5-TTri biodegrading activated sludge communities (ASC) by DGGE and NGS, acclimation experiments with (i) easily degradable substrates, and (ii) various complex substrates mimicking wastewater conditions were performed. DGGE revealed four genera: Aminobacter (family Phyllobacteriaceae), Flavobacterium (family Flavobacteriaceae), Pseudomonas (family Pseudomonaceae), and Hydrogenophaga (family Comamonadaceae). Metagenomics (DNA) revealed the dominant families Alcaligenaceae, Pseudomonadaceae and Comamonadaceae that also represented the most active families at the RNA level (metatranscriptomics), which might indicate their importance for 5-TTri biodegradation. ASC acclimation and the composition of the substrate significantly affected 5-TTri biodegradation and the development of biodegrading communities. Using acetate only, a moderate 5-TTri degrading community was detected with a very low biodiversity and Pseudomonas spp. as dominant organisms. In contrast, setups fed 'sludge supernatant' (a complex substrate) efficiently biodegraded 5-TTri and formed a more diverse microbial community but with Hydrogenophaga spp. as the dominant group. Finally, a hypothetical 5-TTri biodegradation pathway was constructed based exclusively on the detected, biodegradation-related, Hydrogenophaga spp. genes.

citation: 37

Mancabelli L, Milani C, Lugli GA, et al (2017)

Identification of universal gut microbial biomarkers of common human intestinal diseases by meta-analysis.

FEMS microbiology ecology, 93(12):.

Intestinal diseases, such as Crohn's disease (CD), ulcerative colitis (UC) and pseudomembranous colitis (CDI), are among the most common diseases in humans and may lead to more serious pathologies, e.g. colorectal cancer (CRC). Next generation sequencing has in recent years allowed the identification of correlations between intestinal bacteria and diseases, although the formulation of universal gut microbial biomarkers for such diseases is only in its infancy. In the current study, we selected and reanalyzed a total of 3048 public datasets obtained from 16S rRNA profiling of individuals affected by CD, UC, CDI and CRC. This meta-analysis revealed possible biases in the reconstruction of the gut microbiota composition due to the use of different primer pairs employed for PCR of 16S rRNA gene fragments. Notably, this approach also identified common features of individuals affected by gut diseases (DS), including lower biodiversity compared to control subjects. Moreover, potential universal intestinal disease microbial biomarkers were identified through cross-disease comparisons. In detail, CTRL showed high abundance of the genera Barnesiella, Ruminococcaceae UCG-005, Alistipes, Christensenellaceae R-7 group and unclassified member of Lachnospiraceae family, while DS exhibited high abundance of Lactobacillus, unclassified member of Erysipelotrichaceae family and Streptococcus genera.

citation: 38

Rahman MA, LaPierre N, Rangwala H, et al (2017)

Metagenome sequence clustering with hash-based canopies.

Journal of bioinformatics and computational biology, 15(6):1740006.

Metagenomics is the collective sequencing of co-existing microbial communities which are ubiquitous across various clinical and ecological environments. Due to the large volume and random short sequences (reads) obtained from community sequences, analysis of diversity, abundance and functions of different organisms within these communities are challenging tasks. We present a fast and scalable clustering algorithm for analyzing large-scale metagenome sequence data. Our approach achieves efficiency by partitioning the large number of sequence reads into groups (called canopies) using hashing. These canopies are then refined by using state-of-the-art sequence clustering algorithms. This canopy-clustering (CC) algorithm can be used as a pre-processing phase for computationally expensive clustering algorithms. We use and compare three hashing schemes for canopy construction with five popular and state-of-the-art sequence clustering methods. We evaluate our clustering algorithm on synthetic and real-world 16S and whole metagenome benchmarks. We demonstrate the ability of our proposed approach to determine meaningful Operational Taxonomic Units (OTU) and observe significant speedup with regards to run time when compared to different clustering algorithms. We also make our source code publicly available on Github.a.

citation: 39

Woyke T, Doud DFR, F Schulz (2017)

The trajectory of microbial single-cell sequencing.

Nature methods, 14(11):1045-1054.

Over the past decade, it has become nearly routine to sequence genomes of individual microbial cells directly isolated from environmental samples ranging from deep-sea hydrothermal vents to insect guts, providing a powerful complement to shotgun metagenomics in microbial community studies. In this review, we address the technical aspects and challenges of single-cell genome sequencing and discuss some of the scientific endeavors that it has enabled. Specifically, we highlight newly added leaves and branches in the genomic tree of bacterial and archaeal life and illustrate the unique and exciting advantages that single-cell genomics offers over metagenomics, both now and in the near future.

citation: 40

Herath D, Jayasundara D, Ackland D, et al (2017)

Assessing Species Diversity Using Metavirome Data: Methods and Challenges.

Computational and structural biotechnology journal, 15:447-455 pii:S2001-0370(17)30022-3.

Assessing biodiversity is an important step in the study of microbial ecology associated with a given environment. Multiple indices have been used to quantify species diversity, which is a key biodiversity measure. Measuring species diversity of viruses in different environments remains a challenge relative to measuring the diversity of other microbial communities. Metagenomics has played an important role in elucidating viral diversity by conducting metavirome studies; however, metavirome data are of high complexity requiring robust data preprocessing and analysis methods. In this review, existing bioinformatics methods for measuring species diversity using metavirome data are categorised broadly as either sequence similarity-dependent methods or sequence similarity-independent methods. The former includes a comparison of DNA fragments or assemblies generated in the experiment against reference databases for quantifying species diversity, whereas estimates from the latter are independent of the knowledge of existing sequence data. Current methods and tools are discussed in detail, including their applications and limitations. Drawbacks of the state-of-the-art method are demonstrated through results from a simulation. In addition, alternative approaches are proposed to overcome the challenges in estimating species diversity measures using metavirome data.

citation: 41

Volokhov DV, Becker DJ, Bergner LM, et al (2017)

Novel hemotropic mycoplasmas are widespread and genetically diverse in vampire bats.

Epidemiology and infection, 145(15):3154-3167.

Bats (Order: Chiroptera) have been widely studied as reservoir hosts for viruses of concern for human and animal health. However, whether bats are equally competent hosts of non-viral pathogens such as bacteria remains an important open question. Here, we surveyed blood and saliva samples of vampire bats from Peru and Belize for hemotropic Mycoplasma spp. (hemoplasmas), bacteria that can cause inapparent infection or anemia in hosts. 16S rRNA gene amplification of blood showed 67% (150/223) of common vampire bats (Desmodus rotundus) were infected by hemoplasmas. Sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene amplicons revealed three novel genotypes that were phylogenetically related but not identical to hemoplasmas described from other (non-vampire) bat species, rodents, humans, and non-human primates. Hemoplasma prevalence in vampire bats was highest in non-reproductive and young individuals, did not differ by country, and was relatively stable over time (i.e., endemic). Metagenomics from pooled D. rotundus saliva from Peru detected non-hemotropic Mycoplasma species and hemoplasma genotypes phylogenetically similar to those identified in blood, providing indirect evidence for potential direct transmission of hemoplasmas through biting or social contacts. This study demonstrates vampire bats host several novel hemoplasmas and sheds light on risk factors for infection and basic transmission routes. Given the high frequency of direct contacts that arise when vampire bats feed on humans, domestic animals, and wildlife, the potential of these bacteria to be transmitted between species should be investigated in future work.

citation: 42

Rosshart SP, Vassallo BG, Angeletti D, et al (2017)

Wild Mouse Gut Microbiota Promotes Host Fitness and Improves Disease Resistance.

Cell, 171(5):1015-1028.e13.

Laboratory mice, while paramount for understanding basic biological phenomena, are limited in modeling complex diseases of humans and other free-living mammals. Because the microbiome is a major factor in mammalian physiology, we aimed to identify a naturally evolved reference microbiome to better recapitulate physiological phenomena relevant in the natural world outside the laboratory. Among 21 distinct mouse populations worldwide, we identified a closely related wild relative to standard laboratory mouse strains. Its bacterial gut microbiome differed significantly from its laboratory mouse counterpart and was transferred to and maintained in laboratory mice over several generations. Laboratory mice reconstituted with natural microbiota exhibited reduced inflammation and increased survival following influenza virus infection and improved resistance against mutagen/inflammation-induced colorectal tumorigenesis. By demonstrating the host fitness-promoting traits of natural microbiota, our findings should enable the discovery of protective mechanisms relevant in the natural world and improve the modeling of complex diseases of free-living mammals. VIDEO ABSTRACT.

citation: 43

Steffan SA, Dharampal PS, Diaz-Garcia L, et al (2017)

Empirical, Metagenomic, and Computational Techniques Illuminate the Mechanisms by which Fungicides Compromise Bee Health.

Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE.

Growers often use fungicide sprays during bloom to protect crops against disease, which exposes bees to fungicide residues. Although considered "bee-safe," there is mounting evidence that fungicide residues in pollen are associated with bee declines (for both honey and bumble bee species). While the mechanisms remain relatively unknown, researchers have speculated that bee-microbe symbioses are involved. Microbes play a pivotal role in the preservation and/or processing of pollen, which serves as nutrition for larval bees. By altering the microbial community, it is likely that fungicides disrupt these microbe-mediated services, and thereby compromise bee health. This manuscript describes the protocols used to investigate the indirect mechanism(s) by which fungicides may be causing colony decline. Cage experiments exposing bees to fungicide-treated flowers have already provided the first evidence that fungicides cause profound colony losses in a native bumble bee (Bombus impatiens). Using field-relevant doses of fungicides, a series of experiments have been developed to provide a finer description of microbial community dynamics of fungicide-exposed pollen. Shifts in the structural composition of fungal and bacterial assemblages within the pollen microbiome are investigated by next-generation sequencing and metagenomic analysis. Experiments developed herein have been designed to provide a mechanistic understanding of how fungicides affect the microbiome of pollen-provisions. Ultimately, these findings should shed light on the indirect pathway through which fungicides may be causing colony declines.

citation: 44

Kvas S, Rahn J, Engel K, et al (2017)

Development of a microbial test suite and data integration method for assessing microbial health of contaminated soil.

Journal of microbiological methods, 143:66-77.

There is no standard methodology or guideline for assessing soil microbial health for the purposes of contaminant risk assessments. Here we propose a laboratory-based test suite and novel data integration method for evaluating soil microbial health using site-specific contaminated and reference soil. The test suite encompasses experiments for evaluating microbial biomass, activity, and diversity. The results from the tests are then integrated so that a Soil Microbial Health Score (SMHS) may be assigned. This test suite and data integration method was tested on soils from 3 different contaminated sites in Canada. The soil microbial health of a petroleum hydrocarbon (PHC) contaminated site was found to be 'Mildly Impacted' and 'Moderately Impacted' for two soil horizons at a boreal forest site. The soil microbial health of the mixed metal/PHC and mixed metal sites were both found to be 'Not Impacted'. Continued use of this test suite and data integration method will help create guidelines for assessing soil microbial health in ecological risk assessments.

citation: 45

Oh S, Yap GC, Hong PY, et al (2017)

Immune-modulatory genomic properties differentiate gut microbiota of infants with and without eczema.

PloS one, 12(10):e0184955 pii:PONE-D-16-39819.

Gut microbiota play an important role in human immunological processes, potentially affecting allergic diseases such as eczema. The diversity and structure of gut microbiota in infants with eczema have been previously documented. This study aims to evaluate by comparative metagenomics differences in genetic content in gut microbiota of infants with eczema and their matched controls. Stools were collected at the age of one month old from twelve infants from an at risk birth cohort in a case control manner. Clinical follow up for atopic outcomes were carried out at the age of 12 and 24 months. Microbial genomic DNA were extracted from stool samples and used for shotgun sequencing. Comparative metagenomic analysis showed that immune-regulatory TCAAGCTTGA motifs were significantly enriched in the six healthy controls (C) communities compared to the six eczema subjects (E), with many encoded by Bifidobacterium (38% of the total motifs in the C communities). Draft genomes of five Bifidobacterium species populations (B. longum, B. bifidum, B. breve, B. dentium, and B. pseudocatenulatum) were recovered from metagenomic datasets. The B. longum BFN-121-2 genome encoded more TCAAGCTTGA motifs (4.2 copies per one million genome sequence) than other Bifidobacterium genomes. Additionally, the communities in the stool of controls (C) were also significantly enriched in functions associated with tetrapyrrole biosynthesis compared to those of eczema (E). Our results show distinct immune-modulatory genomic properties of gut microbiota in infants associated with eczema and provide new insights into potential role of gut microbiota in affecting human immune homeostasis.

citation: 46

Jie Z, Xia H, Zhong SL, et al (2017)

The gut microbiome in atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

Nature communications, 8(1):845 pii:10.1038/s41467-017-00900-1.

The gut microbiota has been linked to cardiovascular diseases. However, the composition and functional capacity of the gut microbiome in relation to cardiovascular diseases have not been systematically examined. Here, we perform a metagenome-wide association study on stools from 218 individuals with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ACVD) and 187 healthy controls. The ACVD gut microbiome deviates from the healthy status by increased abundance of Enterobacteriaceae and Streptococcus spp. and, functionally, in the potential for metabolism or transport of several molecules important for cardiovascular health. Although drug treatment represents a confounding factor, ACVD status, and not current drug use, is the major distinguishing feature in this cohort. We identify common themes by comparison with gut microbiome data associated with other cardiometabolic diseases (obesity and type 2 diabetes), with liver cirrhosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Our data represent a comprehensive resource for further investigations on the role of the gut microbiome in promoting or preventing ACVD as well as other related diseases.The gut microbiota may play a role in cardiovascular diseases. Here, the authors perform a metagenome-wide association study on stools from individuals with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and healthy controls, identifying microbial strains and functions associated with the disease.

citation: 47

Chen YC, Greenbaum J, Shen H, et al (2017)

Association Between Gut Microbiota and Bone Health: Potential Mechanisms and Prospective.

The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism, 102(10):3635-3646.

Context: It has been well established that the human gut microbiome plays a critical role in the regulation of important biological processes and the mechanisms underlying numerous complex diseases. Although researchers have only recently begun to study the relationship between the gut microbiota and bone metabolism, early efforts have provided increased evidence to suggest an important association.

Evidence Acquisition: In this study, we attempt to comprehensively summarize the relationship between the gut microbiota and bone metabolism by detailing the regulatory effects of the microbiome on various biological processes, including nutrient absorption and the intestinal mucosal barrier, immune system functionality, the gut-brain axis, and excretion of functional byproducts. In this review, we incorporate evidence from various types of studies, including observational, in vitro and in vivo animal experiments, as well as small efficacy clinic trails.

Evidence Synthesis: We review the various potential mechanisms of influence for the gut microbiota on the regulation of bone metabolism and discuss the importance of further examining the potential effects of the gut microbiota on the risk of osteoporosis in humans. Furthermore, we outline some useful tools/approaches for metagenomics research and present some prominent examples of metagenomics association studies in humans.

Conclusion: Current research efforts, although limited, clearly indicate that the gut microbiota may be implicated in bone metabolism, and therefore, further exploration of this relationship is a promising area of focus in bone health and osteoporosis research. Although most existing studies investigate this relationship using animal models, human studies are both needed and on the horizon.

citation: 48

Xiao C, Lu ZM, Zhang XJ, et al (2017)

Bio-Heat Is a Key Environmental Driver Shaping the Microbial Community of Medium-Temperature Daqu.

Applied and environmental microbiology, 83(23): pii:AEM.01550-17.

"Daqu" is a saccharifying and fermenting agent commonly used in the traditional solid-state fermentation industry (e.g., baijiu and vinegar). The patterns of microbial community succession and flavor formation are highly similar among batches, yet the mechanisms promoting temporal succession in the Daqu microbial ecology remain unclear. Here, we first correlated temporal profiles of microbial community succession with environmental variables (temperature, moisture, and titratable acidity) in medium temperature Daqu (MT-Daqu) throughout fermentation. Temperature dynamics significantly correlated (P< 0.05) with the quick succession of MT-Daqu microbiota in the first 12 d of fermentation, while the community structure was relatively stable after 12 d. Then, we explored the effect of temperature on the MT-Daqu community assembly. In the first 4 d of fermentation, the rapid propagation of most bacterial taxa and several fungal taxa, includingCandida,Wickerhamomyces, and unclassifiedDipodascaceaeandSaccharomycetalesspecies, significantly increased MT-Daqu temperature to 55°C. Subsequently, sustained bio-heat generated by microbial metabolism (53 to 56°C) within MT-Daqu inhibited the growth of most microbes from day 4 to day 12, while thermotolerant taxa, includingBacillus, unclassifiedStreptophyta,Weissella,Thermoactinomyces,Thermoascus, andThermomycessurvived or kept on growing. Furthermore, temperature as a major driving force on the shaping of MT-Daqu microbiota was validated. Lowering the fermentation temperature by placing the MT-Daqu in a 37°C incubator resulted in decreased relative abundances of thermotolerant taxa, includingBacillus,Thermoactinomyces, andThermoascus, in the MT-Daqu microbiota. This study revealed that bio-heat functioned as a primary endogenous driver promoting the formation of functional MT-Daqu microbiota.IMPORTANCEHumans have mastered the Daqu preparation technique of cultivating functional microbiota on starchy grains over thousands of years, and it is well known that the metabolic activity of these microbes is key to the flavor production of Chinese baijiu. The pattern of microbial community succession and flavor formation remains highly similar between batches, yet mechanistic insight into these patterns and into microbial population fidelity to specific environmental conditions remains unclear. Our study revealed that bio-heat was generated within Daqu bricks in the first 4 d of fermentation, concomitant with rapid microbial propagation and metabolism. The sustained bio-heat may then function as a major endogenous driving force promoting the formation of the MT-Daqu microbiota from day 4 to day 12. The bio-heat-driven growth of thermotolerant microorganisms might contribute to the formation of flavor metabolites. This study provides useful information for the temperature-based modulation of microbiota function during the fermentation of Daqu.

citation: 49

Zhai P, Yang L, Guo X, et al (2017)

MetaComp: comprehensive analysis software for comparative meta-omics including comparative metagenomics.

BMC bioinformatics, 18(1):434 pii:10.1186/s12859-017-1849-8.

BACKGROUND: During the past decade, the development of high throughput nucleic sequencing and mass spectrometry analysis techniques have enabled the characterization of microbial communities through metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, metaproteomics and metabolomics data. To reveal the diversity of microbial communities and interactions between living conditions and microbes, it is necessary to introduce comparative analysis based upon integration of all four types of data mentioned above. Comparative meta-omics, especially comparative metageomics, has been established as a routine process to highlight the significant differences in taxon composition and functional gene abundance among microbiota samples. Meanwhile, biologists are increasingly concerning about the correlations between meta-omics features and environmental factors, which may further decipher the adaptation strategy of a microbial community.

RESULTS: We developed a graphical comprehensive analysis software named MetaComp comprising a series of statistical analysis approaches with visualized results for metagenomics and other meta-omics data comparison. This software is capable to read files generated by a variety of upstream programs. After data loading, analyses such as multivariate statistics, hypothesis testing of two-sample, multi-sample as well as two-group sample and a novel function-regression analysis of environmental factors are offered. Here, regression analysis regards meta-omic features as independent variable and environmental factors as dependent variables. Moreover, MetaComp is capable to automatically choose an appropriate two-group sample test based upon the traits of input abundance profiles. We further evaluate the performance of its choice, and exhibit applications for metagenomics, metaproteomics and metabolomics samples.

CONCLUSION: MetaComp, an integrative software capable for applying to all meta-omics data, originally distills the influence of living environment on microbial community by regression analysis. Moreover, since the automatically chosen two-group sample test is verified to be outperformed, MetaComp is friendly to users without adequate statistical training. These improvements are aiming to overcome the new challenges under big data era for all meta-omics data. MetaComp is available at: http://cqb.pku.edu.cn/ZhuLab/MetaComp/ and https://github.com/pzhaipku/MetaComp/ .

citation: 50

Ferrario C, Alessandri G, Mancabelli L, et al (2017)

Untangling the cecal microbiota of feral chickens by culturomic and metagenomic analyses.

Environmental microbiology, 19(11):4771-4783.

Different factors may modulate the gut microbiota of animals. In any particular environment, diet, genetic factors and human influences can shape the bacterial communities residing in the gastrointestinal tract. Metagenomic approaches have significantly expanded our knowledge on microbiota dynamics inside hosts, yet cultivation and isolation of bacterial members of these complex ecosystems may still be necessary to fully understand interactions between bacterial communities and their host. A dual approach, involving culture-independent and -dependent techniques, was used here to decipher the microbiota communities that inhabit the gastro intestinal tract of free-range, broiler and feral chickens. In silico analysis revealed the presence of a core microbiota that is typical of those animals that live in different geographical areas and that have limited contact with humans. Anthropic influences guide the metabolic potential and the presence of antibiotic resistance genes of these different bacterial communities. Culturomics attempts, based on different cultivation conditions, were applied to reconstruct in vitro the microbiota of feral chickens. A unique strain collection representing members of the four major phyla of the poultry microbiota was assembled, including bacterial strains that are not typically retrieved from the chicken gut.

citation: 51

Goss-Souza D, Mendes LW, Borges CD, et al (2017)

Soil microbial community dynamics and assembly under long-term land use change.

FEMS microbiology ecology, 93(10):.

We evaluated the bacterial and archaeal community dynamics and assembly in soils under forest, grassland and no-till cropping, using a high-throughput shotgun metagenomics approach. No significant alterations in alpha diversity were observed among different land uses, but beta diversity in grassland was lower than that observed in forest and no-till soils. Grassland communities showed assembly that predominantly followed the neutral model, i.e. high homogenizing selection with moderate dispersion, leading to biotic homogenization. Both no-till and forest soil communities were found to have assembly that predominantly followed a niche model, i.e. low rates of dispersal and weak homogenizing selection, resulting in maintenance of higher beta diversity relative to grasslands, indicating niche specialization or variable selection. Taken together, our results indicate that the patterns of assembly and their governing processes are dependent on the land use employed after deforestation, with consequences for taxa turnover and microbial functional potential.

citation: 52

Williamson KE, Fuhrmann JJ, Wommack KE, et al (2017)

Viruses in Soil Ecosystems: An Unknown Quantity Within an Unexplored Territory.

Annual review of virology, 4(1):201-219.

Viral abundance in soils can range from below detection limits in hot deserts to over 1 billion per gram in wetlands. Abundance appears to be strongly influenced by water availability and temperature, but a lack of informational standards creates difficulties for cross-study analysis. Soil viral diversity is severely underestimated and undersampled, although current measures of viral richness are higher for soils than for aquatic ecosystems. Both morphometric and metagenomic analyses have raised questions about the prevalence of nontailed, ssDNA viruses in soils. Soil is complex and critically important to terrestrial biodiversity and human civilization, but impacts of viral activities on soil ecosystem services are poorly understood. While information from aquatic systems and medical microbiology suggests the potential for viral influences on nutrient cycles, food web interactions, gene transfer, and other key processes in soils, very few empirical data are available. To understand the soil virome, much work remains.

citation: 53

van Nieuwenhuijzen EJ, Houbraken JAMP, Punt PJ, et al (2017)

The fungal composition of natural biofinishes on oil-treated wood.

Fungal biology and biotechnology, 4:2 pii:30.

BACKGROUND: Biofinished wood is considered to be a decorative and protective material for outdoor constructions, showing advantages compared to traditional treated wood in terms of sustainability and self-repair. Natural dark wood staining fungi are essential to biofinish formation on wood. Although all sorts of outdoor situated timber are subjected to fungal staining, the homogenous dark staining called biofinish has only been detected on specific vegetable oil-treated substrates. Revealing the fungal composition of various natural biofinishes on wood is a first step to understand and control biofinish formation for industrial application.

RESULTS: A culture-based survey of fungi in natural biofinishes on oil-treated wood samples showed the common wood stain fungusAureobasidiumand the recently described genusSuperstratomycesto be predominant constituents. A culture-independent approach, based on amplification of the internal transcribed spacer regions, cloning and Sanger sequencing, resulted in clone libraries of two types of biofinishes.Aureobasidiumwas present in both biofinish types, but was only predominant in biofinishes on pine sapwood treated with raw linseed oil. Most cloned sequences of the other biofinish type (pine sapwood treated with olive oil) could not be identified. In addition, a more in-depth overview of the fungal composition of biofinishes was obtained with Illumina amplicon sequencing that targeted the internal transcribed spacer region 1. All investigated samples, that varied in wood species, (oil) treatments and exposure times, containedAureobasidiumand this genus was predominant in the biofinishes on pine sapwood treated with raw linseed oil.Lapidomyceswas the predominant genus in most of the other biofinishes and present in all other samples. Surprisingly,Superstratomyces, which was predominantly detected by the cultivation-based approach, could not be found with the Illumina sequencing approach, whileLapidomyceswas not detected in the culture-based approach.

CONCLUSIONS: Overall, the culture-based approach and two culture-independent methods that were used in this study revealed that natural biofinishes were composed of multiple fungal genera always containing the common wood staining mouldAureobasidium. BesidesAureobasidium, the use of other fungal genera for the production of biofinished wood has to be considered.

citation: 54

Ericsson AC, Montonye DR, Smith CR, et al (2017)

Modeling a Superorganism - Considerations Regarding the Use of "Dirty" Mice in Biomedical Research
.

The Yale journal of biology and medicine, 90(3):361-371.

An ever-expanding body of evidence in both humans and animal models demonstrates the influence of the resident gut microbiota on host health and disease susceptibility. However, as unwanted bacterial, viral, protozoal, and parasitic agents have gradually been eliminated from colonies of purpose-bred laboratory mice, the resident microbiota has lost richness and complexity. Recent studies have shown that the ultra-hygienic environment of traditional laboratory mice and lack of antigenic exposure during development results in mice with an immune system more akin to that of a neonate than an adult human. In contrast, wild mice or mice purchased from pet stores are exposed to much greater antigen burdens and their immune system reflects this with significantly greater numbers of memory T cells and more robust vaccine responses. The current review explores the use of alternative sources for research rodents, with an emphasis on the differences in resident gut microbiota and pathogen burden between wild mice, pet store-origin mice, and traditional laboratory mice. Specifically, the literature is compared and contrasted to our own data reflecting the endogenous gut microbiota and pathogen load of wild and pet store mice, as well as the changes in both during and after procedures intended to eliminate certain zoonotic agents present in pet store mice. These data demonstrate that, while alternative sources of research rodents will likely provide models that are more translatable to the human condition, there are also several real-world considerations for scientists including contamination of research facilities and human health risks such as zoonotic diseases.

citation: 55

Grohmann A, Fehrmann S, Vainshtein Y, et al (2018)

Microbiome dynamics and adaptation of expression signatures during methane production failure and process recovery.

Bioresource technology, 247:347-356.

This study aimed to uncover microbial dynamics and transcriptional adaptations during mesophilic AD of maize silage and slurry. While one digester performed under optimal conditions, the investigations also evaluated the microbiome during a temperature drop mediated process failure accompanied by acidification and how it contributed to a process recovery. Composition and pathway activities were analyzed by whole genome shotgun (WGS) and metatranscriptome sequencing, respectively. A biodiversity of 112 species was observed with noticeable shifts over process time. Although four distinct groups of microbes could be identified with a correlating versatility according to substrate and to process disturbance, also tremendous effects on gene expression were monitored especially of the archaeal methane metabolism. Particularly, the expression of acetogenotrophic methanogenesis related genes was identified to be relevant for process regeneration.

citation: 56

Valseth K, Nesbø CL, Easterday WR, et al (2017)

Temporal dynamics in microbial soil communities at anthrax carcass sites.

BMC microbiology, 17(1):206 pii:10.1186/s12866-017-1111-6.

BACKGROUND: Anthrax is a globally distributed disease affecting primarily herbivorous mammals. It is caused by the soil-dwelling and spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis. The dormant B. anthracis spores become vegetative after ingestion by grazing mammals. After killing the host, B. anthracis cells return to the soil where they sporulate, completing the lifecycle of the bacterium. Here we present the first study describing temporal microbial soil community changes in Etosha National Park, Namibia, after decomposition of two plains zebra (Equus quagga) anthrax carcasses. To circumvent state-associated-challenges (i.e. vegetative cells/spores) we monitored B. anthracis throughout the period using cultivation, qPCR and shotgun metagenomic sequencing.

RESULTS: The combined results suggest that abundance estimation of spore-forming bacteria in their natural habitat by DNA-based approaches alone is insufficient due to poor recovery of DNA from spores. However, our combined approached allowed us to follow B. anthracis population dynamics (vegetative cells and spores) in the soil, along with closely related organisms from the B. cereus group, despite their high sequence similarity. Vegetative B. anthracis abundance peaked early in the time-series and then dropped when cells either sporulated or died. The time-series revealed that after carcass deposition, the typical semi-arid soil community (e.g. Frankiales and Rhizobiales species) becomes temporarily dominated by the orders Bacillales and Pseudomonadales, known to contain plant growth-promoting species.

CONCLUSION: Our work indicates that complementing DNA based approaches with cultivation may give a more complete picture of the ecology of spore forming pathogens. Furthermore, the results suggests that the increased vegetation biomass production found at carcass sites is due to both added nutrients and the proliferation of microbial taxa that can be beneficial for plant growth. Thus, future B. anthracis transmission events at carcass sites may be indirectly facilitated by the recruitment of plant-beneficial bacteria.

citation: 57

Mourani PM, MK Sontag (2017)

Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia in Critically Ill Children: A New Paradigm.

Pediatric clinics of North America, 64(5):1039-1056.

Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is a serious complication of critical illness. Surveillance definitions have undergone revisions for more objective and consistent reporting. The 1 organism-1 disease paradigm for microbial involvement may not adequately apply to many cases of VAP, in which pathogens are introduced to a pre-existing and often complex microbial community that facilitates or hinders the potential pathogen, consequently determining whether progression to VAP occurs. As omics technology is applied to VAP, a paradigm is emerging incorporating simultaneous assessments of microbial populations and their activity, as well as the host response, to personalize prevention and treatment.

citation: 58

Moussa TAA, Al-Zahrani HS, Almaghrabi OA, et al (2017)

Comparative metagenomics approaches to characterize the soil fungal communities of western coastal region, Saudi Arabia.

PloS one, 12(9):e0185096 pii:PONE-D-16-50520.

A total of 145007 reads were obtained from pyrosequencing for all the 4 samples. The total count ranged from 11,301,014 (Mecca old road) to 23,503,512 bp (Thuwal). A total of 460 fungal species belonging to 133 genera, 58 families, 33 orders, 13 classes and 4 phyla was identified across the four sites. The most abundant phylum at all four sites was Ascomycota followed by Basidiomycota. Four phyla (Ascomycota-99.31%, Basidiomycota-0.59%, Chytridiomycota-0.04%, Glomeromycota-0.03%) were detected in Khulais. Except for Glomeromycota, all phyla were detected at Mecca old road (Ascomycota-74.26%, Basidiomycota-25.71%, Chytridiomycota-0.01%) and Thuwal (Ascomycota-99.59%, Basidiomycota-0.40%, Chytridiomycota-0.002%); while only Ascomycota-90.98% and Basidiomycota-9.01% were detected in Asfan road. At the class level, Sordariomycetes was predominantly observed at Asfan road-59.88%, Khulais-68.26% and Thuwal-94.84%; while Pezizomycetes was dominant at Mecca old road-56.01%, was absent at Asfan road. Agaricomycetes was present only at Mecca old road-25.73%; while Tremellomycetes-5.77%, Malasseizomycetes-2.13% and Microbotryomycetes-1.10% were found only at Asfan road. The phylogenetic trees revealed that clear genus level differences are visible across all the four sites, with an overall predominance of Thielavia followed by Madurella, Aspergillus, and Gelasinospora. Chaetomium sp., Aspergillus caespitosus and Aspergillus sp. were found in moderate (Mecca old road and Thuwal) to abundant (Asfan road and Khulais) quantities. Thielavia sp., Thielavia hyalocarpa and Madurella sp. are found in moderate quantities at Khulais and Mecca old road, while in abundant levels at Asfan road and Thuwal. Fusarium equisati and F. oxysporum were detected at Thuwal and Khulais. Sordaria araneosa was present at Khulais, while Malasseiza globosa species was detected in moderate quantities across all sites except Khulais.

citation: 59

Wu Q, Wang X, Ding Y, et al (2017)

Seasonal variation in nutrient utilization shapes gut microbiome structure and function in wild giant pandas.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 284(1862):.

Wild giant pandas use different parts of bamboo (shoots, leaves and stems) and different bamboo species at different times of the year. Their usage of bamboo can be classified temporally into a distinct leaf stage, shoot stage and transition stage. An association between this usage pattern and variation in the giant panda gut microbiome remains unknown. Here, we found associations using a gut metagenomic approach and nutritional analyses whereby diversity of the gut microbial community in the leaf and shoot stages was significantly different. Functional metagenomic analysis showed that in the leaf stage, bacteria species over-represented genes involved in raw fibre utilization and cell cycle control. Thus, raw fibre utilization by the gut microbiome was guaranteed during the nutrient-deficient leaf stage by reinforcing gut microbiome robustness. During the protein-abundant shoot stage, the functional capacity of the gut microbiome expanded to include prokaryotic secretion and signal transduction activity, suggesting active interactions between the gut microbiome and host. These results illustrate that seasonal nutrient variation in wild giant pandas substantially influences gut microbiome composition and function. Nutritional interactions between gut microbiomes and hosts appear to be complex and further work is needed.

citation: 60

Williams B, Ghosh M, Boucher CAB, et al (2017)

A Summary of the Second Annual HIV Microbiome Workshop.

AIDS research and human retroviruses, 33(12):1258-1264.

Commensal organisms appear to play significant roles in normal homeostasis as well as in the pathogenesis of HIV infection in a number of different organ systems. On November 17th and 18th, 2016, leading researchers from around the world met to discuss their insights on advances in our understanding of HIV and the microbiome at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda. Dr. Elhanan Borenstein of the University of Washington gave a keynote address where he discussed new developments in systems biology which hold the promise of illuminating the pathways by which these organisms interact with human physiology. He suggested that we need to get past correlations in microbiome research by using models and informatics which incorporate metagenomics to predict functional changes in the microbiome.

citation: 61

Liu P, Jia S, He X, et al (2017)

Different impacts of manure and chemical fertilizers on bacterial community structure and antibiotic resistance genes in arable soils.

Chemosphere, 188:455-464.

Both manure and chemical fertilizers are widely used in modern agriculture. However, the impacts of different fertilizers on bacterial community structure and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in arable soils still remain unclear. In this study, high-throughput sequencing and quantitative PCR were employed to investigate the bacterial community structure, ARGs and mobile genetic elements (MGEs) influenced by the application of different fertilizers, including chemical fertilizers, piggery manure and straw ash. The results showed that the application of fertilizers could significantly change the soil bacterial community and the abundance of Gaiella under phylum Actinobacteria was significantly reduced from 12.9% in unfertilized soil to 4.1%-7.4% in fertilized soil (P < 0.05). It was also found that the application of manure could cause a transient effect on soil resistome composition and the relative abundance of ARGs increased from 7.37 ppm to 32.10 ppm. The abundance of aminoglycoside, sulfonamide and tetracycline resistance genes greatly increased after manure fertilization and then gradually returned to normal levels with the decay of some intestinal bacteria carrying ARGs. In contrast, the application of chemical fertilizers and straw ash significantly changed the bacterial community structure but exerted little effect on soil resistome. Overall, the results of this study illustrated the different effects of different fertilizers on the soil resistome and revealed that the changes of soil resistome induced by manure application mainly resulted from alteration of bacteria community rather than the horizontal gene transfer.

citation: 62

Elderman M, Sovran B, Hugenholtz F, et al (2017)

The effect of age on the intestinal mucus thickness, microbiota composition and immunity in relation to sex in mice.

PloS one, 12(9):e0184274 pii:PONE-D-17-04269.

A mucus layer covers and protects the intestinal epithelial cells from direct contact with microbes. This mucus layer not only prevents inflammation but also plays an essential role in microbiota colonization, indicating the complex interplay between mucus composition-microbiota and intestinal health. However, it is unknown whether the mucus layer is influenced by age or sex and whether this contributes to reported differences in intestinal diseases in males and females or with ageing. Therefore, in this study we investigated the effect of age on mucus thickness, intestinal microbiota composition and immune composition in relation to sex. The ageing induced shrinkage of the colonic mucus layer was associated with bacterial penetration and direct contact of bacteria with the epithelium in both sexes. Additionally, several genes involved in the biosynthesis of mucus were downregulated in old mice, especially in males, and this was accompanied by a decrease in abundances of various Lactobacillus species and unclassified Clostridiales type IV and XIV and increase in abundance of the potential pathobiont Bacteroides vulgatus. The changes in mucus and microbiota in old mice were associated with enhanced activation of the immune system as illustrated by a higher percentage of effector T cells in old mice. Our data contribute to a better understanding of the interplay between mucus-microbiota-and immune responses and ultimately may lead to more tailored design of strategies to modulate mucus production in targeted groups.

citation: 63

Quince C, Walker AW, Simpson JT, et al (2017)

Shotgun metagenomics, from sampling to analysis.

Nature biotechnology, 35(9):833-844.

Diverse microbial communities of bacteria, archaea, viruses and single-celled eukaryotes have crucial roles in the environment and in human health. However, microbes are frequently difficult to culture in the laboratory, which can confound cataloging of members and understanding of how communities function. High-throughput sequencing technologies and a suite of computational pipelines have been combined into shotgun metagenomics methods that have transformed microbiology. Still, computational approaches to overcome the challenges that affect both assembly-based and mapping-based metagenomic profiling, particularly of high-complexity samples or environments containing organisms with limited similarity to sequenced genomes, are needed. Understanding the functions and characterizing specific strains of these communities offers biotechnological promise in therapeutic discovery and innovative ways to synthesize products using microbial factories and can pinpoint the contributions of microorganisms to planetary, animal and human health.

citation: 64

Mezzasalma V, Sandionigi A, Bruni I, et al (2017)

Grape microbiome as a reliable and persistent signature of field origin and environmental conditions in Cannonau wine production.

PloS one, 12(9):e0184615 pii:PONE-D-17-16136.

Grape berries harbor a wide range of microbes originating from the vineyard environment, many of which are recognized for their role in the must fermentation process shaping wine quality. To better clarify the contribution of the microbiome of grape fruits during wine fermentation, we used high-throughput sequencing to identify bacterial and fungi communities associated with berries and musts of Cannonau. This is the most important cultivar-wine of Sardinia (Italy) where most vineyards are cultivated without phytochemical treatments. Results suggested that microbiomes of berries collected at four different localities share a core composition characterized by Enterobacteriales, Pseudomonadales, Bacillales, and Rhodospirillales. However, any area seems to enrich berries microbiome with peculiar microbial traits. For example, berries belonging to the biodynamic vineyards of Mamoiada were rich in Bacillales typical of manure (i.e. Lysinibacillus, Bacillus, and Sporosarcina), whereas in the Santadi locality, berries showed soil bacteria such as Pasteurellales and Bacteroidales as well as Rhodospirillales and Lactobacillales which are commonly involved in wine fermentation. In the case of fungi, the most abundant taxa were Dothioraceae, Pleosporaceae, and Saccharomycodaceae, and although the proportion of these families varied among localities, they occurred ubiquitously in all vineyards. During vinification processes performed at the same wine cellar under controlled conditions and without using any yeast starter, more than 50% of bacteria groups of berries reached musts, and each locality had its own private bacteria signature, even if Saccharomyces cerevisiae represented the most abundant fungal species. This work suggests that natural berries microbiome could be influenced by pedoclimatic and anthropologic conditions (e.g., farming management), and the fruits' microorganisms persist during the fermentation process. For these reasons, a reliable wine genotyping should include the entire holobiont (plant and all its symbionts), and bioprospecting activities on grape microbiota could lead to improved viticulture yields and wine quality.

citation: 65

Jenkins TP, Rathnayaka Y, Perera PK, et al (2017)

Infections by human gastrointestinal helminths are associated with changes in faecal microbiota diversity and composition.

PloS one, 12(9):e0184719 pii:PONE-D-17-21162.

Investigations of the impact that patent infections by soil-transmitted gastrointestinal nematode parasites exert on the composition of the host gut commensal flora are attracting growing interest by the scientific community. However, information collected to date varies across experiments, and further studies are needed to identify consistent relationships between parasites and commensal microbial species. Here, we explore the qualitative and quantitative differences between the microbial community profiles of cohorts of human volunteers from Sri Lanka with patent infection by one or more parasitic nematode species (H+), as well as that of uninfected subjects (H-) and of volunteers who had been subjected to regular prophylactic anthelmintic treatment (Ht). High-throughput sequencing of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene, followed by bioinformatics and biostatistical analyses of sequence data revealed no significant differences in alpha diversity (Shannon) and richness between groups (P = 0.65, P = 0.13 respectively); however, beta diversity was significantly increased in H+ and Ht when individually compared to H-volunteers (P = 0.04). Among others, bacteria of the families Verrucomicrobiaceae and Enterobacteriaceae showed a trend towards increased abundance in H+, whereas the Leuconostocaceae and Bacteroidaceae showed a relative increase in H- and Ht respectively. Our findings add valuable knowledge to the vast, and yet little explored, research field of parasite-microbiota interactions and will provide a basis for the elucidation of the role such interactions play in pathogenic and immune-modulatory properties of parasitic nematodes in both human and animal hosts.

citation: 66

Festa S, Coppotelli BM, Madueño L, et al (2017)

Assigning ecological roles to the populations belonging to a phenanthrene-degrading bacterial consortium using omic approaches.

PloS one, 12(9):e0184505 pii:PONE-D-17-12092.

The present study describes the behavior of a natural phenanthrene-degrading consortium (CON), a synthetic consortium (constructed with isolated strains from CON) and an isolated strain form CON (Sphingobium sp. AM) in phenanthrene cultures to understand the interactions among the microorganisms present in the natural consortium during phenanthrene degradation as a sole carbon and energy source in liquid cultures. In the contaminant degradation assay, the defined consortium not only achieved a major phenanthrene degradation percentage (> 95%) but also showed a more efficient elimination of the intermediate metabolite. The opposite behavior occurred in the CON culture where the lowest phenanthrene degradation and the highest HNA accumulation were observed, which suggests the presence of positive and also negative interaction in CON. To consider the uncultured bacteria present in CON, a metagenomic library was constructed with total CON DNA. One of the resulting scaffolds (S1P3) was affiliated with the Betaproteobacteria class and resulted in a significant similarity with a genome fragment from Burkholderia sp. HB1 chromosome 1. A complete gene cluster, which is related to one of the lower pathways (meta-cleavage of catechol) involved in PAH degradation (ORF 31-43), mobile genetic elements and associated proteins, was found. These results suggest the presence of at least one other microorganism in CON besides Sphingobium sp. AM, which is capable of degrading PAH through the meta-cleavage pathway. Burkholderiales order was further found, along with Sphingomonadales order, by a metaproteomic approach, which indicated that both orders were metabolically active in CON. Our results show the presence of negative interactions between bacterial populations found in a natural consortium selected by enrichment techniques; moreover, the synthetic syntrophic processing chain with only one microorganism with the capability of degrading phenanthrene was more efficient in contaminant and intermediate metabolite degradation than a generalist strain (Sphingobium sp. AM).

citation: 67

Carding SR, Davis N, L Hoyles (2017)

Review article: the human intestinal virome in health and disease.

Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics, 46(9):800-815.

BACKGROUND: The human virome consists of animal-cell viruses causing transient infections, bacteriophage (phage) predators of bacteria and archaea, endogenous retroviruses and viruses causing persistent and latent infections. High-throughput, inexpensive, sensitive sequencing methods and metagenomics now make it possible to study the contribution dsDNA, ssDNA and RNA virus-like particles make to the human virome, and in particular the intestinal virome.

AIM: To review and evaluate the pioneering studies that have attempted to characterise the human virome and generated an increased interest in understanding how the intestinal virome might contribute to maintaining health, and the pathogenesis of chronic diseases.

METHODS: Relevant virome-related articles were selected for review following extensive language- and date-unrestricted, electronic searches of the literature.

RESULTS: The human intestinal virome is personalised and stable, and dominated by phages. It develops soon after birth in parallel with prokaryotic communities of the microbiota, becoming established during the first few years of life. By infecting specific populations of bacteria, phages can alter microbiota structure by killing host cells or altering their phenotype, enabling phages to contribute to maintaining intestinal homeostasis or microbial imbalance (dysbiosis), and the development of chronic infectious and autoimmune diseases including HIV infection and Crohn's disease, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: Our understanding of the intestinal virome is fragmented and requires standardised methods for virus isolation and sequencing to provide a more complete picture of the virome, which is key to explaining the basis of virome-disease associations, and how enteric viruses can contribute to disease aetiologies and be rationalised as targets for interventions.

citation: 68

Novello G, Gamalero E, Bona E, et al (2017)

The Rhizosphere Bacterial Microbiota ofVitis viniferacv. Pinot Noir in an Integrated Pest Management Vineyard.

Frontiers in microbiology, 8:1528.

Microorganisms associated withVitis vinifera(grapevine) can affect its growth, health and grape quality. The aim of this study was to unravel the biodiversity of the bacterial rhizosphere microbiota of grapevine in an integrated pest management vineyard located in Piedmont, Italy. Comparison between the microbial community structure in the bulk and rhizosphere soil (variable: space) were performed. Moreover, the possible shifts of the bulk and rhizosphere soil microbiota according to two phenological stages such as flowering and early fruit development (variable: time) were characterized. The grapevine microbiota was identified using metagenomics and next-generation sequencing. Biodiversity was higher in the rhizosphere than in the bulk soil, independent of the phenological stage. Actinobacteria were the dominant class with frequencies ≥ 50% in all the soil samples, followed by Proteobacteria, Gemmatimonadetes, and Bacteroidetes. While Actinobacteria and Proteobacteria are well-known as being dominant in soil, this is the first time the presence of Gemmatimonadetes has been observed in vineyard soils.Gaiellawas the dominant genus of Actinobacteria in all the samples. Finally, the microbiota associated with grapevine differed from the bulk soil microbiota and these variations were independent of the phenological stage of the plant.

citation: 69

Bond SL, Timsit E, Workentine M, et al (2017)

Upper and lower respiratory tract microbiota in horses: bacterial communities associated with health and mild asthma (inflammatory airway disease) and effects of dexamethasone.

BMC microbiology, 17(1):184 pii:10.1186/s12866-017-1092-5.

BACKGROUND: The microbial composition of the equine respiratory tract, and differences due to mild equine asthma (also called Inflammatory Airway Disease (IAD)) have not been reported. The primary treatment for control of IAD in horses are corticosteroids. The objectives were to characterize the upper and lower respiratory tract microbiota associated with respiratory health and IAD, and to investigate the effects of dexamethasone on these bacterial communities using high throughput sequencing.

RESULTS: The respiratory microbiota of horses was dominated by four major phyla, Proteobacteria (43.85%), Actinobacteria (21.63%), Firmicutes (16.82%), and Bacteroidetes (13.24%). Fifty genera had a relative abundance > 0.1%, with Sphingomonas and Pantoea being the most abundant. The upper and lower respiratory tract microbiota differed in healthy horses, with a decrease in richness in the lower airways, and 2 OTUs that differed in abundance. There was a separation between bacterial communities in the lower respiratory tract of healthy and IAD horses; 6 OTUs in the tracheal community had different abundance with disease status, with Streptococcus being increased in IAD horses. Treatment with dexamethasone had an effect on the lower respiratory tract microbiota of both heathy and IAD horses, with 8 OTUs increasing in abundance (including Streptococcus) and 1 OTU decreasing.

CONCLUSIONS: The lower respiratory tract microbiota differed between healthy and IAD horses. Further research on the role of Streptococcus in IAD is warranted. Dexamethasone treatment affected the lower respiratory tract microbiota, which suggests that control of bacterial overgrowth in IAD horses treated with dexamethasone could be part of the treatment strategy.

citation: 70

do Vale Pereira G, da Cunha DG, Pedreira Mourino JL, et al (2017)

Characterization of microbiota in Arapaima gigas intestine and isolation of potential probiotic bacteria.

Journal of applied microbiology, 123(5):1298-1311.

AIMS: The aim of this study was to determine the intestinal microbiota of pirarucu (Arapaima gigas) in different growth stages (adult and fingerlings) and to isolate and identify potential probiotic bacteria.

METHODS AND RESULTS: High-throughput sequencing analysis of the intestinal contents revealed that the majority of sequences belonged to the Proteobacteria, Fusobacteria and Firmicutes phyla. At the genus level, the greatest number of sequences belonged to Bradyrhizobium in adult fish, while Cetobacterium was the most abundant in juvenile fish. Twenty-three lactic-acid bacteria (LABs) were isolated on MRS agar from healthy juvenile fish. The isolates were tested in vitro for probiotic properties. Two isolates (identified as strains of Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis and Enterococcus faecium) displayed antagonism against all 10 pathogens tested, were nonhaemolytic and maintained good viability for at least 3 weeks when supplemented to fish diets. The presence of a number of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs), conferring resistance to erythromycin, tetracycline and chloramphenicol, was investigated by PCR.

CONCLUSIONS: The absence of ARGs investigated the potential to antagonize pathogens, and favourable growth and survival characteristics indicate that these autochthonous isolates have the potential to be considered probiotics, which will be studied in future in vivo experiments.

This study has demonstrated, for the first time, the normal microbiota in the A. gigas intestine during different life stages and the presence of LAB strains. It also demonstrated LAB antibiotic resistance and antagonistic behaviour against pathogens isolated from the same fish.

citation: 71

Suhaimi NSM, Goh SY, Ajam N, et al (2017)

Diversity of microbiota associated with symptomatic and non-symptomatic bacterial wilt-diseased banana plants determined using 16S rRNA metagenome sequencing.

World journal of microbiology & biotechnology, 33(9):168 pii:10.1007/s11274-017-2336-0.

Banana is one of the most important fruits cultivated in Malaysia, and it provides many health benefits. However, bacterial wilt disease, which attacks bananas, inflicts major losses on the banana industry in Malaysia. To understand the complex interactions of the microbiota of bacterial wilt-diseased banana plants, we first determined the bacterial communities residing in the pseudostems of infected (symptomatic) and diseased-free (non-symptomatic) banana plants. We characterized the associated microorganisms using the targeted 16S rRNA metagenomics sequencing on the Illumina MiSeq platform. Taxonomic classifications revealed 17 and nine known bacterial phyla in the tissues of non-symptomatic and symptomatic plants, respectively. Cyanobacteria and Proteobacteria (accounted for more than 99% of the 16S rRNA gene fragments) were the two most abundant phyla in both plants. The five major genera found in both plant samples were Ralstonia, Sphingomonas, Methylobacterium, Flavobacterium, and Pseudomonas. Ralstonia was more abundant in symptomatic plant (59% out of the entire genera) as compared to those in the non-symptomatic plant (only 36%). Our data revealed that 102 bacterial genera were only assigned to the non-symptomatic plant. Overall, this study indicated that more diverse and abundant microbiota were associated with the non-symptomatic bacterial wilt-diseased banana plant as compared to the symptomatic plant. The higher diversity of endophytic microbiota in the non-symptomatic banana plant could be an indication of pathogen suppression which delayed or prevented the disease expression. This comparative study of the microbiota in the two plant conditions might provide caveats for potential biological control strategies.

citation: 72

Tomczyk-Żak K, Szczesny P, Gromadka R, et al (2017)

Taxonomic and chemical assessment of exceptionally abundant rock mine biofilm.

PeerJ, 5:e3635 pii:3635.

BACKGROUND: An exceptionally thick biofilm covers walls of ancient gold and arsenic Złoty Stok mine (Poland) in the apparent absence of organic sources of energy.

METHODS AND RESULTS: We have characterized this microbial community using culture-dependent and independent methods. We sequenced amplicons of the 16S rRNA gene obtained using generic primers and additional primers targeted at Archaea and Actinobacteria separately. Also, we have cultured numerous isolates from the biofilm on different media under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. We discovered very high biodiversity, and no single taxonomic group was dominant. The majority of almost 4,000 OTUs were classified above genus level indicating presence of novel species. Elemental analysis, performed using SEM-EDS and X-ray, of biofilm samples showed that carbon, sulphur and oxygen were not evenly distributed in the biofilm and that their presence is highly correlated. However, the distribution of arsenic and iron was more flat, and numerous intrusions of elemental silver and platinum were noted, indicating that microorganisms play a key role in releasing these elements from the rock.

CONCLUSIONS: Altogether, the picture obtained throughout this study shows a very rich, complex and interdependent system of rock biofilm. The chemical heterogeneity of biofilm is a likely explanation as to why this oligotrophic environment is capable of supporting such high microbial diversity.

citation: 73

Fukuyama J, Rumker L, Sankaran K, et al (2017)

Multidomain analyses of a longitudinal human microbiome intestinal cleanout perturbation experiment.

PLoS computational biology, 13(8):e1005706 pii:PCOMPBIOL-D-17-00394.

Our work focuses on the stability, resilience, and response to perturbation of the bacterial communities in the human gut. Informative flash flood-like disturbances that eliminate most gastrointestinal biomass can be induced using a clinically-relevant iso-osmotic agent. We designed and executed such a disturbance in human volunteers using a dense longitudinal sampling scheme extending before and after induced diarrhea. This experiment has enabled a careful multidomain analysis of a controlled perturbation of the human gut microbiota with a new level of resolution. These new longitudinal multidomain data were analyzed using recently developed statistical methods that demonstrate improvements over current practices. By imposing sparsity constraints we have enhanced the interpretability of the analyses and by employing a new adaptive generalized principal components analysis, incorporated modulated phylogenetic information and enhanced interpretation through scoring of the portions of the tree most influenced by the perturbation. Our analyses leverage the taxa-sample duality in the data to show how the gut microbiota recovers following this perturbation. Through a holistic approach that integrates phylogenetic, metagenomic and abundance information, we elucidate patterns of taxonomic and functional change that characterize the community recovery process across individuals. We provide complete code and illustrations of new sparse statistical methods for high-dimensional, longitudinal multidomain data that provide greater interpretability than existing methods.

citation: 74

Abecia L, Jiménez E, Martínez-Fernandez G, et al (2017)

Natural and artificial feeding management before weaning promote different rumen microbial colonization but not differences in gene expression levels at the rumen epithelium of newborn goats.

PloS one, 12(8):e0182235 pii:PONE-D-16-48735.

The aim of this work was to evaluate the effect of feeding management during the first month of life (natural with the mother, NAT, or artificial with milk replacer, ART) on the rumen microbial colonization and the host innate immune response. Thirty pregnant goats carrying two fetuses were used. At birth one kid was taken immediately away from the doe and fed milk replacer (ART) while the other remained with the mother (NAT). Kids from groups received colostrum during first 2 days of life. Groups of four kids (from ART and NAT experimental groups) were slaughtered at 1, 3, 7, 14, 21 and 28 days of life. On the sampling day, after slaughtering, the rumen content was sampled and epithelial rumen tissue was collected. Pyrosequencing analyses of the bacterial community structure on samples collected at 3, 7, 14 and 28 days showed that both systems promoted significantly different colonization patterns (P = 0.001). Diversity indices increased with age and were higher in NAT feeding system. Lower mRNA abundance was detected in TLR2, TLR8 and TLR10 in days 3 and 5 compared to the other days (7, 14, 21 and 28). Only TLR5 showed a significantly different level of expression according to the feeding system, presenting higher mRNA abundances in ART kids. PGLYRP1 showed significantly higher abundance levels in days 3, 5 and 7, and then experienced a decline independently of the feeding system. These observations confirmed a highly diverse microbial colonisation from the first day of life in the undeveloped rumen, and show that the colonization pattern substantially differs between pre-ruminants reared under natural or artificial milk feeding systems. However, the rumen epithelial immune development does not differentially respond to distinct microbial colonization patterns.

citation: 75

Chen H, Peng S, Dai L, et al (2017)

Oral microbial community assembly under the influence of periodontitis.

PloS one, 12(8):e0182259 pii:PONE-D-16-50165.

Several ecological hypotheses (e.g., specific plaque, non-specific plaque and keystone pathogen) regarding the etiology of periodontitis have been proposed since the 1990s, most of which have been centered on the concept of dysbiosis associated with periodontitis. Nevertheless, none of the existing hypotheses have presented mechanistic interpretations on how and why dysbiosis actually occurs. Hubbell's neutral theory of biodiversity offers a powerful null model to test hypothesis regarding the mechanism of community assembly and diversity maintenance from the metagenomic sequencing data, which can help to understand the forces that shape the community dynamics such as dysbiosis. Here we reanalyze the dataset from Abusleme et al.'s comparative study of the oral microbial communities from periodontitis patients and healthy individuals. Our study demonstrates that 14 out of 61 communities (23%) passed the neutrality test, a percentage significantly higher than the previous reported neutrality rate of 1% in human microbiome (Li & Ma 2016, Scientific Reports). This suggests that, while the niche selection may play a predominant role in the assembly and diversity maintenance in oral microbiome, the effect of neutral dynamics may not be ignored. However, no statistically significant differences in the neutrality passing rates were detected between the periodontitis and healthy treatments with Fisher's exact probability test and multiple testing corrections, suggesting that the mechanism of community assembly is robust against disturbances such as periodontitis. In addition, our study confirmed previous finding that periodontitis patients exhibited higher biodiversity. These findings suggest that while periodontitis may significantly change the community composition measured by diversity (i.e., the exhibition or 'phenotype' of community assembly), it does not seem to cause the 'mutation' of the 'genotype" (mechanism) of community assembly. We argue that the 'phenotypic' changes explain the observed link (not necessarily causal) between periodontitis and community dysbiosis, which is certainly worthy of further investigation.

citation: 76

Masuoka H, Shimada K, Kiyosue-Yasuda T, et al (2017)

Transition of the intestinal microbiota of cats with age.

PloS one, 12(8):e0181739 pii:PONE-D-17-10528.

The transition of intestinal microbiota with age has been well described in humans. However, the age-related changes in intestinal microbiota of cats have not been well studied. In the present study, we investigated the composition of intestinal microbiota of cats in 5 different age groups (pre-weanling, weanling, young, aged, senile) with a culture-based method. For lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, we also quantified with molecular-based method, real-time PCR. The results suggested that the composition of the feline intestinal microbiota changes with age, while the changes were different from those of humans and dogs. Bifidobacteria which are predominant in human intestine or lactobacilli which are predominant in dog intestine, did not appear to be important in cat intestines. Enterococci, instead, seem to be major lactic acid producing bacteria in cats. We also identified lactobacilli and bifidobacteria at the species level based on 16S rRNA gene sequences and found that the species composition of Lactobacillus also changed with age.

citation: 77

Emerson JB, Adams RI, Román CMB, et al (2017)

Schrödinger's microbes: Tools for distinguishing the living from the dead in microbial ecosystems.

Microbiome, 5(1):86 pii:10.1186/s40168-017-0285-3.

While often obvious for macroscopic organisms, determining whether a microbe is dead or alive is fraught with complications. Fields such as microbial ecology, environmental health, and medical microbiology each determine how best to assess which members of the microbial community are alive, according to their respective scientific and/or regulatory needs. Many of these fields have gone from studying communities on a bulk level to the fine-scale resolution of microbial populations within consortia. For example, advances in nucleic acid sequencing technologies and downstream bioinformatic analyses have allowed for high-resolution insight into microbial community composition and metabolic potential, yet we know very little about whether such community DNA sequences represent viable microorganisms. In this review, we describe a number of techniques, from microscopy- to molecular-based, that have been used to test for viability (live/dead determination) and/or activity in various contexts, including newer techniques that are compatible with or complementary to downstream nucleic acid sequencing. We describe the compatibility of these viability assessments with high-throughput quantification techniques, including flow cytometry and quantitative PCR (qPCR). Although bacterial viability-linked community characterizations are now feasible in many environments and thus are the focus of this critical review, further methods development is needed for complex environmental samples and to more fully capture the diversity of microbes (e.g., eukaryotic microbes and viruses) and metabolic states (e.g., spores) of microbes in natural environments.

citation: 78

Aswad A, A Katzourakis (2017)

A novel viral lineage distantly related to herpesviruses discovered within fish genome sequence data.

Virus evolution, 3(2):vex016 pii:vex016.

Pathogenic viruses represent a small fraction of viral diversity, and emerging diseases are frequently the result of cross-species transmissions. Therefore, we need to develop high-throughput techniques to investigate a broader range of viral biodiversity across a greater number of species. This is especially important in the context of new practices in agriculture that have arisen to tackle the challenges of global food security, including the rising number of marine and freshwater species that are used in aquaculture. In this study, we demonstrate the utility of combining evolutionary approaches with bioinformatics to mine non-viral genome data for viruses, by adapting methods from paleovirology. We report the discovery of a new lineage of dsDNA viruses that are associated with at least fifteen different species of fish. This approach also enabled us to simultaneously identify sequences that likely represent endogenous viral elements, which we experimentally confirmed in commercial salmon samples. Moreover, genomic analysis revealed that the endogenous sequences have co-opted PiggyBac-like transposable elements, possibly as a mechanism of intragenomic proliferation. The identification of novel viruses from genome data shows that our approach has applications in genomics, virology, and the development of best practices for aquaculture and farming.

citation: 79

Petersen LM, Bautista EJ, Nguyen H, et al (2017)

Community characteristics of the gut microbiomes of competitive cyclists.

Microbiome, 5(1):98 pii:10.1186/s40168-017-0320-4.

BACKGROUND: Changes in diet and exercise can alter the gut microbiome of humans and mice; however, few studies to date have assessed the microbiomes of highly fit athletes. In this pilot study, we used metagenomic whole genome shotgun (mWGS) and metatranscriptomic (RNA-Seq) sequencing to show what organisms are both present and active in the gut microbiomes of both professional and amateur level competitive cyclists and to determine if any significant differences exist between these two groups.

RESULTS: Using mWGS sequencing data, we showed that the gut microbiomes of 33 cyclists split into three taxonomic clusters, characterized by either high Prevotella, high Bacteroides or a mix of many genera including Bacteroides, Prevotella, Eubacterium, Ruminococcus, and Akkermansia. While no significant correlations could be found between taxonomic cluster and being either a professional or amateur level cyclist, high abundance of the genus Prevotella (≥2.5%) was significantly correlated with time reported exercising during an average week. Increased abundance of Prevotella was correlated with a number of amino acid and carbohydrate metabolism pathways, including branched chain amino acid metabolism. Further analysis of the metatranscriptome revealed significant taxonomic differences when compared to the metagenome. There was increased abundance of Methanobrevibacter smithii transcripts in a number of professional cyclists in comparison to amateur cyclists and this archaeon had upregulation of genes involved in the production of methane. Furthermore, when methane metabolism was upregulated, there was similar upregulation of energy and carbohydrate metabolism pathways.

CONCLUSIONS: These results provide a framework for common constituents of the gut community in individuals who follow an exercise-rich lifestyle. These data also suggest how certain organisms such as M. smithii may beneficially influence the metabolic efficiency of the gut community in professional cyclists due to synergistic metabolic cross-feeding events.

citation: 80

Zhang Y, Xu J, Riera N, et al (2017)

Huanglongbing impairs the rhizosphere-to-rhizoplane enrichment process of the citrus root-associated microbiome.

Microbiome, 5(1):97 pii:10.1186/s40168-017-0304-4.

BACKGROUND: Roots are the primary site for plant-microbe interactions. Among the three root-associated layers (i.e., rhizosphere, rhizoplane, and endorhiza), the rhizoplane is a key component serving a critical gating role that controls microbial entry into plant roots. The microbial communities colonizing the three layers are believed to be gradually enriched from the bulk soil inoculum. However, it is unknown how this enrichment process, particularly the rhizosphere to rhizoplane step, is affected by biotic stresses, such as disease. In this study, we address this question using the citrus root-associated microbiome as a model.

RESULTS: We identified the rhizosphere-to-rhizoplane-enriched taxonomic and functional properties of the citrus root-associated microbiome and determined how they were affected by Huanglongbing (HLB), a severe systemic disease caused by Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus, using metagenomic and metatranscriptomic approaches. Multiple rhizoplane-enriched genera were identified, with Bradyrhizobium and Burkholderia being the most dominant. Plant-derived carbon sources are an important driving force for the enrichment process. The enrichment of functional attributes, such as motility, chemotaxis, secretion systems, and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) synthesis, demonstrated more active microbe-plant interactions on the rhizoplane than the rhizosphere. We observed that HLB impaired the rhizosphere-to-rhizoplane enrichment process of the citrus root-associated microbiome in three ways: (1) by decreasing the relative abundance of most rhizoplane-enriched genera; (2) by reducing the relative abundance and/or expression activity of the functional attributes involved in microbe-plant interactions; and (3) by recruiting more functional features involved in autotrophic life cycle adaptation, such as carbon fixation and nitrogen nitrification in the HLB rhizoplane microbiome. Finally, our data showed that inoculation of Burkholderia strains isolated from the healthy citrus root-associated microbiome could trigger the expression of genes involved in induced systemic resistance in inoculated plants.

CONCLUSIONS: HLB causes decreased relative abundance and/or expression activity of rhizoplane-enriched taxonomic and functional properties, collectively resulting in impaired plant host-microbiome interactions. Manipulation of the citrus root-associated microbiome, for instance, by inoculating citrus roots with beneficial Burkholderia strains, has potential to promote plant health. Our results provide novel insights for understanding the contributions of the community enrichment process of the root-associated microbiome to the plant hosts.

citation: 81

Broman E, Sjöstedt J, Pinhassi J, et al (2017)

Shifts in coastal sediment oxygenation cause pronounced changes in microbial community composition and associated metabolism.

Microbiome, 5(1):96 pii:10.1186/s40168-017-0311-5.

BACKGROUND: A key characteristic of eutrophication in coastal seas is the expansion of hypoxic bottom waters, often referred to as 'dead zones'. One proposed remediation strategy for coastal dead zones in the Baltic Sea is to mix the water column using pump stations, circulating oxygenated water to the sea bottom. Although microbial metabolism in the sediment surface is recognized as key in regulating bulk chemical fluxes, it remains unknown how the microbial community and its metabolic processes are influenced by shifts in oxygen availability. Here, coastal Baltic Sea sediments sampled from oxic and anoxic sites, plus an intermediate area subjected to episodic oxygenation, were experimentally exposed to oxygen shifts. Chemical, 16S rRNA gene, metagenomic, and metatranscriptomic analyses were conducted to investigate changes in chemistry fluxes, microbial community structure, and metabolic functions in the sediment surface.

RESULTS: Compared to anoxic controls, oxygenation of anoxic sediment resulted in a proliferation of bacterial populations in the facultative anaerobic genus Sulfurovum that are capable of oxidizing toxic sulfide. Furthermore, the oxygenated sediment had higher amounts of RNA transcripts annotated as sqr, fccB, and dsrA involved in sulfide oxidation. In addition, the importance of cryptic sulfur cycling was highlighted by the oxidative genes listed above as well as dsvA, ttrB, dmsA, and ddhAB that encode reductive processes being identified in anoxic and intermediate sediments turned oxic. In particular, the intermediate site sediments responded differently upon oxygenation compared to the anoxic and oxic site sediments. This included a microbial community composition with more habitat generalists, lower amounts of RNA transcripts attributed to methane oxidation, and a reduced rate of organic matter degradation.

CONCLUSIONS: These novel data emphasize that genetic expression analyses has the power to identify key molecular mechanisms that regulate microbial community responses upon oxygenation of dead zones. Moreover, these results highlight that microbial responses, and therefore ultimately remediation efforts, depend largely on the oxygenation history of sites. Furthermore, it was shown that re-oxygenation efforts to remediate dead zones could ultimately be facilitated by in situ microbial molecular mechanisms involved in removal of toxic H2S and the potent greenhouse gas methane.

citation: 82

Claesson MJ, Clooney AG, PW O'Toole (2017)

A clinician's guide to microbiome analysis.

Nature reviews. Gastroenterology & hepatology, 14(10):585-595.

Microbiome analysis involves determining the composition and function of a community of microorganisms in a particular location. For the gastroenterologist, this technology opens up a rapidly evolving set of challenges and opportunities for generating novel insights into the health of patients on the basis of microbiota characterizations from intestinal, hepatic or extraintestinal samples. Alterations in gut microbiota composition correlate with intestinal and extraintestinal disease and, although only a few mechanisms are known, the microbiota are still an attractive target for developing biomarkers for disease detection and management as well as potential therapeutic applications. In this Review, we summarize the major decision points confronting new entrants to the field or for those designing new projects in microbiome research. We provide recommendations based on current technology options and our experience of sequencing platform choices. We also offer perspectives on future applications of microbiome research, which we hope convey the promise of this technology for clinical applications.

citation: 83

Cui J, Xiao M, Liu M, et al (2017)

Coupling metagenomics with cultivation to select host-specific probiotic micro-organisms for subtropical aquaculture.

Journal of applied microbiology, 123(5):1274-1285.

AIMS: To demonstrate a nonempirical workflow to select host-specific probiotics for aquaculture industry.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Using both culture-dependent and culture-independent methods, we have systematically investigated, for the first time, the gut microbiota of twelve subtropical aquatic animal species. We found that the diversity, abundance and distribution of gut micro-organisms of these animals were host-specific and that lactic acid bacteria (LAB) were predominant among the indigenous probiotic microbes. Using culturing method, we isolated and characterized ninety-eight LAB strains; however, only a few strains was representative of the dominant LAB OTUs recovered by culture-independent analysis.

CONCLUSIONS: Two cultured LAB strains, Enterococcus faecalis LS1-2 and Enterococcus faecium Z1-2, capturing the major LAB OTUs in the sequencing data set of the most animal samples and showing significant antimicrobial activities against shrimp pathogens, were suggested to be the candidates of shrimp probiotics.

Disease outbreak and the consequential abuse of antibiotics have been the constraints to the aquaculture industry. However, the selection of probiotic bacteria is currently still an empirical process due to our limited knowledge on the gastrointestinal microbiota of aquatic organisms. Our study points to a nonempirical selection process by which host-specific probiotics can be developed.

citation: 84

Galia W, Leriche F, Cruveiller S, et al (2017)

Strand-specific transcriptomes of Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli in response to interactions with ground beef microbiota: interactions between microorganisms in raw meat.

BMC genomics, 18(1):574 pii:10.1186/s12864-017-3957-2.

BACKGROUND: Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) are zoonotic agents associated with outbreaks worldwide. Growth of EHEC strains in ground beef could be inhibited by background microbiota that is present initially at levels greater than that of the pathogen E. coli. However, how the microbiota outcompetes the pathogenic bacteria is unknown. Our objective was to identify metabolic pathways of EHEC that were altered by natural microbiota in order to improve our understanding of the mechanisms controlling the growth and survival of EHECs in ground beef.

RESULTS: Based on 16S metagenomics analysis, we identified the microbial community structure in our beef samples which was an essential preliminary for subtractively analyzing the gene expression of the EHEC strains. Then, we applied strand-specific RNA-seq to investigate the effects of this microbiota on the global gene expression of EHEC O2621765and O157EDL933strains by comparison with their behavior in beef meat without microbiota. In strain O2621765, the expression of genes connected with nitrate metabolism and nitrite detoxification, DNA repair, iron and nickel acquisition and carbohydrate metabolism, and numerous genes involved in amino acid metabolism were down-regulated. Further, the observed repression of ftsL and murF, involved respectively in building the cytokinetic ring apparatus and in synthesizing the cytoplasmic precursor of cell wall peptidoglycan, might help to explain the microbiota's inhibitory effect on EHECs. For strain O157EDL933, the induced expression of the genes implicated in detoxification and the general stress response and the repressed expression of the peR gene, a gene negatively associated with the virulence phenotype, might be linked to the survival and virulence of O157:H7 in ground beef with microbiota.

CONCLUSION: In the present study, we show how RNA-Seq coupled with a 16S metagenomics analysis can be used to identify the effects of a complex microbial community on relevant functions of an individual microbe within it. These findings add to our understanding of the behavior of EHECs in ground beef. By measuring transcriptional responses of EHEC, we could identify putative targets which may be useful to develop new strategies to limit their shedding in ground meat thus reducing the risk of human illnesses.

citation: 85

Deck J, Gaither MR, Ewing R, et al (2017)

The Genomic Observatories Metadatabase (GeOMe): A new repository for field and sampling event metadata associated with genetic samples.

PLoS biology, 15(8):e2002925 pii:pbio.2002925.

The Genomic Observatories Metadatabase (GeOMe, http://www.geome-db.org/) is an open access repository for geographic and ecological metadata associated with biosamples and genetic data. Whereas public databases have served as vital repositories for nucleotide sequences, they do not accession all the metadata required for ecological or evolutionary analyses. GeOMe fills this need, providing a user-friendly, web-based interface for both data contributors and data recipients. The interface allows data contributors to create a customized yet standard-compliant spreadsheet that captures the temporal and geospatial context of each biosample. These metadata are then validated and permanently linked to archived genetic data stored in the National Center for Biotechnology Information's (NCBI's) Sequence Read Archive (SRA) via unique persistent identifiers. By linking ecologically and evolutionarily relevant metadata with publicly archived sequence data in a structured manner, GeOMe sets a gold standard for data management in biodiversity science.

citation: 86

Spinler JK, Auchtung J, Brown A, et al (2017)

Next-Generation Probiotics Targeting Clostridium difficile through Precursor-Directed Antimicrobial Biosynthesis.

Infection and immunity, 85(10): pii:IAI.00303-17.

Integration of antibiotic and probiotic therapy has the potential to lessen the public health burden of antimicrobial-associated diseases.Clostridium difficileinfection (CDI) represents an important example where the rational design of next-generation probiotics is being actively pursued to prevent disease recurrence. Because intrinsic resistance to clinically relevant antibiotics used to treat CDI (vancomycin, metronidazole, and fidaxomicin) is a desired trait in such probiotic species, we screened several bacteria and identifiedLactobacillus reuterito be a promising candidate for adjunct therapy. Human-derivedL. reuteribacteria convert glycerol to the broad-spectrum antimicrobial compound reuterin. When supplemented with glycerol, strains carrying thepocRgene locus were potent reuterin producers, withL. reuteri17938 inhibitingC. difficilegrowth at a level on par with the level of growth inhibition by vancomycin. TargetedpocRmutations and complementation studies identified reuterin to be the precursor-induced antimicrobial agent. Pathophysiological relevance was demonstrated when the codelivery ofL. reuteriwith glycerol was effective againstC. difficilecolonization in complex human fecal microbial communities, whereas treatment with either glycerol orL. reuterialone was ineffective. A global unbiased microbiome and metabolomics analysis independently confirmed that glycerol precursor delivery withL. reuterielicited changes in the composition and function of the human microbial community that preferentially targetsC. difficileoutgrowth and toxicity, a finding consistent with glycerol fermentation and reuterin production. Antimicrobial resistance has thus been successfully exploited in the natural design of human microbiome evasion ofC. difficile, and this method may provide a prototypic precursor-directed probiotic approach. Antibiotic resistance and substrate bioavailability may therefore represent critical new determinants of probiotic efficacy in clinical trials.

citation: 87

Legoff J, Resche-Rigon M, Bouquet J, et al (2017)

The eukaryotic gut virome in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation: new clues in enteric graft-versus-host disease.

Nature medicine, 23(9):1080-1085.

Much attention has been focused on the role of the bacterial microbiome in human health, but the virome is understudied. Although previously investigated in individuals with inflammatory bowel diseases or solid-organ transplants, virome dynamics in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) and enteric graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) remain unexplored. Here we characterize the longitudinal gut virome in 44 recipients of HSCT using metagenomics. A viral 'bloom' was identified, and significant increases were demonstrated in the overall proportion of vertebrate viral sequences following transplantation (P = 0.02). Increases in both the rates of detection (P < 0.0001) and number of sequences (P = 0.047) of persistent DNA viruses (anelloviruses, herpesviruses, papillomaviruses and polyomaviruses) over time were observed in individuals with enteric GVHD relative to those without, a finding accompanied by a reduced phage richness (P = 0.01). Picobirnaviruses were detected in 18 individuals (40.9%), more frequently before or within a week after transplant than at later time points (P = 0.008). In a time-dependent Cox proportional-hazards model, picobirnaviruses were predictive of the occurrence of severe enteric GVHD (hazard ratio, 2.66; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.46-4.86; P = 0.001), and correlated with higher fecal levels of two GVHD severity markers, calprotectin and α1-antitrypsin. These results reveal a progressive expansion of vertebrate viral infections over time following HSCT, and they suggest an unexpected association of picobirnaviruses with early post-transplant GVHD.

citation: 88

Muhammed MK, Kot W, Neve H, et al (2017)

Metagenomic Analysis of Dairy Bacteriophages: Extraction Method and Pilot Study on Whey Samples Derived from Using Undefined and Defined Mesophilic Starter Cultures.

Applied and environmental microbiology, 83(19): pii:AEM.00888-17.

Despite being potentially highly useful for characterizing the biodiversity of phages, metagenomic studies are currently not available for dairy bacteriophages, partly due to the lack of a standard procedure for phage extraction. We optimized an extraction method that allows the removal of the bulk protein from whey and milk samples with losses of less than 50% of spiked phages. The protocol was applied to extract phages from whey in order to test the notion that members ofLactococcus lactis936 (nowSk1virus), P335, c2 (nowC2virus) andLeuconostocphage groups are the most frequently encountered in the dairy environment. The relative abundance and diversity of phages in eight and four whey mixtures from dairies using undefined mesophilic mixed-strain cultures containingLactococcus lactissubsp.lactisbiovar diacetylactis andLeuconostocspecies (i.e., DL starter cultures) and defined cultures, respectively, were assessed. Results obtained from transmission electron microscopy and high-throughput sequence analyses revealed the dominance ofLc. lactis936 phages (orderCaudovirales, familySiphoviridae) in dairies using undefined DL starter cultures andLc. lactisc2 phages (orderCaudovirales, familySiphoviridae) in dairies using defined cultures. The 936 andLeuconostocphages demonstrated limited diversity. Possible coinduction of temperate P335 prophages and satellite phages in one of the whey mixtures was also observed.IMPORTANCEThe method optimized in this study could provide an important basis for understanding the dynamics of the phage community (abundance, development, diversity, evolution, etc.) in dairies with different sizes, locations, and production strategies. It may also enable the discovery of previously unknown phages, which is crucial for the development of rapid molecular biology-based methods for phage burden surveillance systems. The dominance of only a few phage groups in the dairy environment signifies the depth of knowledge gained over the past decades, which served as the basis for designing current phage control strategies. The presence of a correlation between phages and the type of starter cultures being used in dairies might help to improve the selection and/or design of suitable, custom, and cost-efficient phage control strategies.

citation: 89

Oliveira JS, Araújo WJ, Figueiredo RM, et al (2017)

Biogeographical distribution analysis of hydrocarbon degrading and biosurfactant producing genes suggests that near-equatorial biomes have higher abundance of genes with potential for bioremediation.

BMC microbiology, 17(1):168 pii:10.1186/s12866-017-1077-4.

BACKGROUND: Bacterial and Archaeal communities have a complex, symbiotic role in crude oil bioremediation. Their biosurfactants and degradation enzymes have been in the spotlight, mainly due to the awareness of ecosystem pollution caused by crude oil accidents and their use. Initially, the scientific community studied the role of individual microbial species by characterizing and optimizing their biosurfactant and oil degradation genes, studying their individual distribution. However, with the advances in genomics, in particular with the use of New-Generation-Sequencing and Metagenomics, it is now possible to have a macro view of the complex pathways related to the symbiotic degradation of hydrocarbons and surfactant production. It is now possible, although more challenging, to obtain the DNA information of an entire microbial community before automatically characterizing it. By characterizing and understanding the interconnected role of microorganisms and the role of degradation and biosurfactant genes in an ecosystem, it becomes possible to develop new biotechnological approaches for bioremediation use. This paper analyzes 46 different metagenome samples, spanning 20 biomes from different geographies obtained from different research projects.

RESULTS: A metagenomics bioinformatics pipeline, focused on the biodegradation and biosurfactant-production pathways, genes and organisms, was applied. Our main results show that: (1) surfactation and degradation are correlated events, and therefore should be studied together; (2) terrestrial biomes present more degradation genes, especially cyclic compounds, and less surfactation genes, when compared to water biomes; and (3) latitude has a significant influence on the diversity of genes involved in biodegradation and biosurfactant production. This suggests that microbiomes found near the equator are richer in genes that have a role in these processes and thus have a higher biotechnological potential.

CONCLUSION: In this work we have focused on the biogeographical distribution of hydrocarbon degrading and biosurfactant producing genes. Our principle results can be seen as an important step forward in the application of bioremediation techniques, by considering the biostimulation, optimization or manipulation of a starting microbial consortia from the areas with higher degradation and biosurfactant producing genetic diversity.

citation: 90

Choo LQ, Crampton-Platt A, AP Vogler (2017)

Shotgun mitogenomics across body size classes in a local assemblage of tropical Diptera: Phylogeny, species diversity and mitochondrial abundance spectrum.

Molecular ecology, 26(19):5086-5098.

Mitochondrial genomes can be assembled readily from shotgun-sequenced DNA mixtures of mass-trapped arthropods ("mitochondrial metagenomics"), speeding up the taxonomic characterization. Bulk sequencing was conducted on some 800 individuals of Diptera obtained by canopy fogging of a single tree in Borneo dominated by small (<1.5 mm) individuals. Specimens were split into five body size classes for DNA extraction, to equalize read numbers across specimens and to study how body size, a key ecological trait, interacts with species and phylogenetic diversity. Genome assembly produced 304 orthologous mitochondrial contigs presumed to each represent a different species. The small-bodied fraction was the by far most species-rich (187 contigs). Identification of contigs was through phylogenetic analysis together with 56 reference mitogenomes, which placed most of the Bornean community into seven clades of small-bodied species, indicating phylogenetic conservation of body size. Mapping of shotgun reads against the mitogenomes showed wide ranges of read abundances within each size class. Ranked read abundance plots were largely log-linear, indicating a uniformly filled abundance spectrum, especially for small-bodied species. Small-bodied species differed greatly from other size classes in neutral metacommunity parameters, exhibiting greater levels of immigration, besides greater total community size. We suggest that the established uses of mitochondrial metagenomics for analysis of species and phylogenetic diversity can be extended to parameterize recent theories of community ecology and biodiversity, and by focusing on the number mitochondria, rather than individuals, a new theoretical framework for analysis of mitochondrial abundance spectra can be developed that incorporates metabolic activity approximated by the count of mitochondria.

citation: 91

Eaton WD, Shokralla S, McGee KM, et al (2017)

Using metagenomics to show the efficacy of forest restoration in the New Jersey Pine Barrens.

Genome, 60(10):825-836.

The Franklin Parker Preserve within the New Jersey Pine Barrens contains 5000 acres of wetlands habitat, including old-growth Atlantic white cedar (or AWC; Chamaecyparis thyoides) swamps, cranberry bogs, and former cranberry bogs undergoing restoration into AWC forests. This study showed that the C-use efficiency was greater in the old-growth AWC soils than in soils from 8-year-old mid-stage restored AWC stands, which were greater than found in soil from 4-year-old AWC stands-the latter two stands being restored from long-term cranberry bogs. A metagenomic analysis of eDNA extracted from these soils showed that the C-cycle trends were associated with increases in the relative numbers of DNA sequences from several copiotrophic bacterial groups (Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria), complex C-decomposing fungal groups (Sordiomycetes, Mortierellales, and Thelephorales), and collembolan and formicid invertebrates. All groups are indicators of successionally more advanced soils, and critical for soil C-cycle activities. These data suggest that the restoration activities studied are enhancing critical guilds of soil biota, and increasing C-use efficiency in the soils of restored habitats, and that the use of metagenomic analysis of soil eDNA can be used in the development of assessment models for soil recovery of wetlands following restoration.

citation: 92

Su JQ, An XL, Li B, et al (2017)

Metagenomics of urban sewage identifies an extensively shared antibiotic resistome in China.

Microbiome, 5(1):84 pii:10.1186/s40168-017-0298-y.

BACKGROUND: Antibiotic-resistant pathogens are challenging treatment of infections worldwide. Urban sewage is potentially a major conduit for dissemination of antibiotic resistance genes into various environmental compartments. However, the diversity and abundance of such genes in wastewater are not well known.

METHODS: Here, seasonal and geographical distributions of antibiotic resistance genes and their host bacterial communities from Chinese urban sewage were characterized, using metagenomic analyses and 16S rRNA gene-based Illumina sequencing, respectively.

RESULTS: In total, 381 different resistance genes were detected, and these genes were extensively shared across China, with no geographical clustering. Seasonal variation in abundance of resistance genes was observed, with average concentrations of 3.27 × 1011and 1.79 × 1012copies/L in summer and winter, respectively. Bacterial communities did not exhibit geographical clusters, but did show a significant distance-decay relationship (P < 0.01). The core, shared resistome accounted for 57.7% of the total resistance genes, and was significantly associated with the core microbial community (P < 0.01). The core human gut microbiota was also strongly associated with the shared resistome, demonstrating the potential contribution of human gut microbiota to the dissemination of resistance elements via sewage disposal.

CONCLUSIONS: This study provides a baseline for investigating environmental dissemination of resistance elements and raises the possibility of using the abundance of resistance genes in sewage as a tool for antibiotic stewardship.

citation: 93

Cernava T, Erlacher A, Aschenbrenner IA, et al (2017)

Deciphering functional diversification within the lichen microbiota by meta-omics.

Microbiome, 5(1):82 pii:10.1186/s40168-017-0303-5.

BACKGROUND: Recent evidence of specific bacterial communities extended the traditional concept of fungal-algal lichen symbioses by a further organismal kingdom. Although functional roles were already assigned to dominant members of the highly diversified microbiota, a substantial fraction of the ubiquitous colonizers remained unexplored. We employed a multi-omics approach to further characterize functional guilds in an unconventional model system.

RESULTS: The general community structure of the lichen-associated microbiota was shown to be highly similar irrespective of the employed omics approach. Five highly abundant bacterial orders-Sphingomonadales, Rhodospirillales, Myxococcales, Chthoniobacterales, and Sphingobacteriales-harbor functions that are of substantial importance for the holobiome. Identified functions range from the provision of vitamins and cofactors to the degradation of phenolic compounds like phenylpropanoid, xylenols, and cresols.

CONCLUSIONS: Functions that facilitate the persistence of Lobaria pulmonaria under unfavorable conditions were present in previously overlooked fractions of the microbiota. So far, unrecognized groups like Chthoniobacterales (Verrucomicrobia) emerged as functional protectors in the lichen microbiome. By combining multi-omics and imaging techniques, we highlight previously overlooked participants in the complex microenvironment of the lichens.

citation: 94

Be NA, Avila-Herrera A, Allen JE, et al (2017)

Whole metagenome profiles of particulates collected from the International Space Station.

Microbiome, 5(1):81 pii:10.1186/s40168-017-0292-4.

BACKGROUND: The built environment of the International Space Station (ISS) is a highly specialized space in terms of both physical characteristics and habitation requirements. It is unique with respect to conditions of microgravity, exposure to space radiation, and increased carbon dioxide concentrations. Additionally, astronauts inhabit a large proportion of this environment. The microbial composition of ISS particulates has been reported; however, its functional genomics, which are pertinent due to potential impact of its constituents on human health and operational mission success, are not yet characterized.

METHODS: This study examined the whole metagenome of ISS microbes at both species- and gene-level resolution. Air filter and dust samples from the ISS were analyzed and compared to samples collected in a terrestrial cleanroom environment. Furthermore, metagenome mining was carried out to characterize dominant, virulent, and novel microorganisms. The whole genome sequences of select cultivable strains isolated from these samples were extracted from the metagenome and compared.

RESULTS: Species-level composition in the ISS was found to be largely dominated by Corynebacterium ihumii GD7, with overall microbial diversity being lower in the ISS relative to the cleanroom samples. When examining detection of microbial genes relevant to human health such as antimicrobial resistance and virulence genes, it was found that a larger number of relevant gene categories were observed in the ISS relative to the cleanroom. Strain-level cross-sample comparisons were made for Corynebacterium, Bacillus, and Aspergillus showing possible distinctions in the dominant strain between samples.

CONCLUSION: Species-level analyses demonstrated distinct differences between the ISS and cleanroom samples, indicating that the cleanroom population is not necessarily reflective of space habitation environments. The overall population of viable microorganisms and the functional diversity inherent to this unique closed environment are of critical interest with respect to future space habitation. Observations and studies such as these will be important to evaluating the conditions required for long-term health of human occupants in such environments.

citation: 95

Sundin OH, Mendoza-Ladd A, Zeng M, et al (2017)

The human jejunum has an endogenous microbiota that differs from those in the oral cavity and colon.

BMC microbiology, 17(1):160 pii:10.1186/s12866-017-1059-6.

BACKGROUND: The upper half of the human small intestine, known as the jejunum, is the primary site for absorption of nutrient-derived carbohydrates, amino acids, small peptides, and vitamins. In contrast to the colon, which contains 1011-1012colony forming units of bacteria per ml (CFU/ml), the normal jejunum generally ranges from 103to 105 CFU per ml. Because invasive procedures are required to access the jejunum, much less is known about its bacterial microbiota. Bacteria inhabiting the jejunal lumen have been investigated by classical culture techniques, but not by culture-independent metagenomics.

RESULTS: The lumen of the upper jejunum was sampled during enteroscopy of 20 research subjects. Culture on aerobic and anaerobic media gave live bacterial counts ranging from 5.8 × 103CFU/ml to 8.0 × 106CFU/ml. DNA from the same samples was analyzed by 16S rRNA gene-specific quantitative PCR, yielding values from 1.5 × 105to 3.1 × 107bacterial genomes per ml. When calculated for each sample, estimated bacterial viability ranged from effectively 100% to a low of 0.3%. 16S rRNA metagenomic analysis of uncultured bacteria by Illumina MiSeq sequencing gave detailed microbial composition by phylum, genus and species. The genera Streptococcus, Prevotella, Veillonella and Fusobacterium, were especially abundant, as well as non-oral genera including Escherichia, Klebsiella, and Citrobacter. The jejunum was devoid of the genera Alistipes, Ruminococcus, Faecalibacterium, and other extreme anaerobes abundant in the colon. In patients with higher bacterial loads, there was no significant change in microbial species composition.

CONCLUSIONS: The jejunal lumen contains a distinctive bacterial population consisting primarily of facultative anaerobes and oxygen-tolerant obligate anaerobes similar to those found in the oral cavity. However, the frequent abundance of Enterobacteriaceae represents a major difference from oral microbiota. Although a few genera are shared with the colon, we found no evidence for retrograde movement of the most abundant colonic microbes to the jejunum. Some individuals had much higher bacterial loads, but this was not correlated with decreases in bacterial species diversity or other evidence of dysbiosis.

citation: 96

Hirai J, Nagai S, K Hidaka (2017)

Evaluation of metagenetic community analysis of planktonic copepods using Illumina MiSeq: Comparisons with morphological classification and metagenetic analysis using Roche 454.

PloS one, 12(7):e0181452 pii:PONE-D-17-09788.

Metagenetics is a rapid and taxonomically comprehensive method for revealing community structures within environmental samples, based on large amounts of sequence data produced by high-throughput sequencers. Because community structures of planktonic copepods are important in the ocean owing to their high diversity and abundance, a metagenetic analysis of the 28S D2 region using Roche 454 was previously developed. However, the Illumina MiSeq platform with a high sequence output is being used more frequently in metagenetics, and non-calanoid copepods have not previously been fully evaluated. Here, we evaluated an Illumina MiSeq-based metagenetic analysis using a mock community and field-collected samples that were examined in a previous study using Roche 454, and the community structure, including non-calanoid copepods, was compared among morphological and metagenetic analyses. We removed a singleton read and applied an appropriate abundance threshold to remove erroneous Molecular Operational Taxonomic Units (MOTUs) with low-abundance sequences in the MiSeq-based analysis. Results showed that the copepod community was successfully characterized using Illumina MiSeq. Higher-quality sequences were obtained using MiSeq than by Roche 454, which reduced the overestimation of diversity, especially at a strict 99% similarity threshold for MOTU clustering. Taxonomic compositions in terms of both biomass and presence/absence of species, including non-calanoids, were more appropriately represented in the MiSeq- than in Roche 454-based analysis. Our data showed that metagenetic analysis using Illumina MiSeq is more useful for revealing copepod communities than Roche 454, owing to the lower cost and higher quality.

citation: 97

Chen Z, Zheng Y, Ding C, et al (2017)

Integrated metagenomics and molecular ecological network analysis of bacterial community composition during the phytoremediation of cadmium-contaminated soils by bioenergy crops.

Ecotoxicology and environmental safety, 145:111-118.

Two energy crops (maize and soybean) were used in the remediation of cadmium-contaminated soils. These crops were used because they are fast growing, have a large biomass and are good sources for bioenergy production. The total accumulation of cadmium in maize and soybean plants was 393.01 and 263.24μg pot-1, respectively. The rhizosphere bacterial community composition was studied by MiSeq sequencing. Phylogenetic analysis was performed using 16S rRNA gene sequences. The rhizosphere bacteria were divided into 33 major phylogenetic groups according to phyla. The dominant phylogenetic groups included Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Gemmatimonadetes, and Bacteroidetes. Based on principal component analysis (PCA) and unweighted pair group with arithmetic mean (UPGMA) analysis, we found that the bacterial community was influenced by cadmium addition and bioenergy cropping. Three molecular ecological networks were constructed for the unplanted, soybean- and maize-planted bacterial communities grown in 50mgkg-1cadmium-contaminated soils. The results indicated that bioenergy cropping increased the complexity of the bacterial community network as evidenced by a higher total number of nodes, the average geodesic distance (GD), the modularity and a shorter geodesic distance. Proteobacteria and Acidobacteria were the keystone bacteria connecting different co-expressed operational taxonomic units (OTUs). The results showed that bioenergy cropping altered the topological roles of individual OTUs and keystone populations. This is the first study to reveal the effects of bioenergy cropping on microbial interactions in the phytoremediation of cadmium-contaminated soils by network reconstruction. This method can greatly enhance our understanding of the mechanisms of plant-microbe-metal interactions in metal-polluted ecosystems.

citation: 98

Tanca A, Abbondio M, Palomba A, et al (2017)

Potential and active functions in the gut microbiota of a healthy human cohort.

Microbiome, 5(1):79 pii:10.1186/s40168-017-0293-3.

BACKGROUND: The study of the gut microbiota (GM) is rapidly moving towards its functional characterization by means of shotgun meta-omics. In this context, there is still no consensus on which microbial functions are consistently and constitutively expressed in the human gut in physiological conditions. Here, we selected a cohort of 15 healthy subjects from a native and highly monitored Sardinian population and analyzed their GMs using shotgun metaproteomics, with the aim of investigating GM functions actually expressed in a healthy human population. In addition, shotgun metagenomics was employed to reveal GM functional potential and to compare metagenome and metaproteome profiles in a combined taxonomic and functional fashion.

RESULTS: Metagenomic and metaproteomic data concerning the taxonomic structure of the GM under study were globally comparable. On the contrary, a considerable divergence between genetic potential and functional activity of the human healthy GM was observed, with the metaproteome displaying a higher plasticity, compared to the lower inter-individual variability of metagenome profiles. The taxon-specific contribution to functional activities and metabolic tasks was also examined, giving insights into the peculiar role of several GM members in carbohydrate metabolism (including polysaccharide degradation, glycan transport, glycolysis, and short-chain fatty acid production). Noteworthy, Firmicutes-driven butyrogenesis (mainly due to Faecalibacterium spp.) was shown to be the metabolic activity with the highest expression rate and the lowest inter-individual variability in the study cohort, in line with the previously reported importance of the biosynthesis of this microbial product for the gut homeostasis.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results provide detailed and taxon-specific information regarding functions and pathways actively working in a healthy GM. The reported discrepancy between expressed functions and functional potential suggests that caution should be used before drawing functional conclusions from metagenomic data, further supporting metaproteomics as a fundamental approach to characterize the human GM metabolic functions and activities.

citation: 99

Lai PS, Allen JG, Hutchinson DS, et al (2017)

Impact of environmental microbiota on human microbiota of workers in academic mouse research facilities: An observational study.

PloS one, 12(7):e0180969 pii:PONE-D-17-02432.

OBJECTIVES: To characterize the microbial environment of workers in academic mouse research facilities using endotoxin, 16S qPCR, and 16S amplicon sequencing. To determine whether the work microbiome contributes to the human microbiome of workers.

METHODS: We performed area air sampling from the animal rooms, dirty, middle, and setup cage wash locations in four academic mouse research facilities. 10 workers in the dirty cage wash area underwent personal air sampling as well as repeated collection of nasal, oral, and skin samples before and after the work shift. Environmental samples underwent measurement of endotoxin, mouse allergen, bacteria copy number via 16S qPCR, and microbial identification via 16S rDNA sequencing. 16S rDNA sequencing was also performed on human samples before and after the work shift. SourceTracker was used to identify the contribution of the work microbiome to the human microbiome.

RESULTS: Median endotoxin levels ranged from undetectable to 1.0 EU/m3. Significant differences in mouse allergen levels, bacterial copy number, microbial richness, and microbial community structure were identified between animal, dirty, middle, and setup cage wash locations. Endotoxin levels had only a moderate correlation with microbial composition. Location within a facility was a stronger predictor of microbial community composition (R2 = 0.41, p = 0.002) than facility. The contribution of the work microbiome to the pre-shift human microbiome of workers was estimated to be 0.1 ± 0.1% for the oral microbiome; 3.1 ± 1.9% for the nasal microbiome; and 3.0 ± 1.5% for the skin microbiome.

CONCLUSIONS: The microbial environment of academic animal care facilities varies significantly by location rather than facility. Endotoxin is not a proxy for assessment of environmental microbial exposures using 16S qPCR or 16S rDNA sequencing. The work microbiome contributes to the composition of the nasal and skin microbiome of workers; the clinical implications of this observation should be further studied.

citation: 100

Stewart CJ, Embleton ND, Marrs ECL, et al (2017)

Longitudinal development of the gut microbiome and metabolome in preterm neonates with late onset sepsis and healthy controls.

Microbiome, 5(1):75 pii:10.1186/s40168-017-0295-1.

BACKGROUND: Late onset sepsis (LOS) in preterm infants is associated with considerable morbidity and mortality. While studies have implicated gut bacteria in the aetiology of the disease, functional analysis and mechanistic insights are generally lacking. We performed temporal bacterial (n = 613) and metabolomic (n = 63) profiling on extensively sampled stool from 7 infants with LOS and 28 matched healthy (no LOS or NEC) controls.

RESULTS: The bacteria isolated in diagnostic blood culture usually corresponded to the dominant bacterial genera in the gut microbiome. Longitudinal changes were monitored based on preterm gut community types (PGCTs), where control infants had an increased number of PGCTs compared to LOS infants (P = 0.011). PGCT 6, characterised by Bifidobacteria dominance, was only present in control infants. Metabolite profiles differed between LOS and control infants at diagnosis and 7 days later, but not 7 days prior to diagnosis. Bifidobacteria was positively correlated with control metabolites, including raffinose, sucrose, and acetic acid.

CONCLUSIONS: Using multi-omic analysis, we show that the gut microbiome is involved in the pathogenesis of LOS. While the causative agent of LOS varies, it is usually abundant in the gut. Bifidobacteria dominance was associated with control infants, and the presence of this organism may directly protect, or act as a marker for protection, against gut epithelial translocation. While the metabolomic data is preliminary, the findings support that gut development and protection in preterm infants is associated with increased in prebiotic oligosaccharides (e.g. raffinose) and the growth of beneficial bacteria (e.g. Bifidobacterium).

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In the early 1990's, Robert Robbins was a faculty member at Johns Hopkins, where he directed the informatics core of GDB — the human gene-mapping database of the international human genome project. To share papers with colleagues around the world, he set up a small paper-sharing section on his personal web page. This small project evolved into The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project.

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In 1995, Robbins became the VP/IT of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA. Soon after arriving in Seattle, Robbins secured funding, through the ELSI component of the US Human Genome Project, to create the original ESP.ORG web site, with the formal goal of providing free, world-wide access to the literature of classical genetics.

ESP Rationale

Although the methods of molecular biology can seem almost magical to the uninitiated, the original techniques of classical genetics are readily appreciated by one and all: cross individuals that differ in some inherited trait, collect all of the progeny, score their attributes, and propose mechanisms to explain the patterns of inheritance observed.

ESP Goal

In reading the early works of classical genetics, one is drawn, almost inexorably, into ever more complex models, until molecular explanations begin to seem both necessary and natural. At that point, the tools for understanding genome research are at hand. Assisting readers reach this point was the original goal of The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project.

ESP Usage

Usage of the site grew rapidly and has remained high. Faculty began to use the site for their assigned readings. Other on-line publishers, ranging from The New York Times to Nature referenced ESP materials in their own publications. Nobel laureates (e.g., Joshua Lederberg) regularly used the site and even wrote to suggest changes and improvements.

ESP Content

When the site began, no journals were making their early content available in digital format. As a result, ESP was obliged to digitize classic literature before it could be made available. For many important papers — such as Mendel's original paper or the first genetic map — ESP had to produce entirely new typeset versions of the works, if they were to be available in a high-quality format.

ESP Help

Early support from the DOE component of the Human Genome Project was critically important for getting the ESP project on a firm foundation. Since that funding ended (nearly 20 years ago), the project has been operated as a purely volunteer effort. Anyone wishing to assist in these efforts should send an email to Robbins.

ESP Plans

With the development of methods for adding typeset side notes to PDF files, the ESP project now plans to add annotated versions of some classical papers to its holdings. We also plan to add new reference and pedagogical material. We have already started providing regularly updated, comprehensive bibliographies to the ESP.ORG site.

Electronic Scholarly Publishing
961 Red Tail Lane
Bellingham, WA 98226

E-mail: RJR8222 @ gmail.com

Papers in Classical Genetics

The ESP began as an effort to share a handful of key papers from the early days of classical genetics. Now the collection has grown to include hundreds of papers, in full-text format.

Digital Books

Along with papers on classical genetics, ESP offers a collection of full-text digital books, including many works by Darwin (and even a collection of poetry — Chicago Poems by Carl Sandburg).

Timelines

ESP now offers a much improved and expanded collection of timelines, designed to give the user choice over subject matter and dates.

Biographies

Biographical information about many key scientists.

Selected Bibliographies

Bibliographies on several topics of potential interest to the ESP community are now being automatically maintained and generated on the ESP site.

ESP Picks from Around the Web (updated 07 JUL 2018 )