skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Targeted Access to the Genomes of Low-Abundance Organisms in Complex Microbial Communities

; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Joint Genome Institute (JGI)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER)
OSTI Identifier:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Applied and Environmental Microbiology; Journal Volume: 73; Journal Issue: 10
Country of Publication:
United States

Citation Formats

M.,Podar, C. B.,Abulencia, M.,Walcher, D.,Hutchison, K.,Zengler, J. A.,Garcia, T.,Holland, D.,Cotton, L.,Hauser, and M.,Keller. Targeted Access to the Genomes of Low-Abundance Organisms in Complex Microbial Communities. United States: N. p., 2007. Web. doi:10.1128/AEM.02985-06.
M.,Podar, C. B.,Abulencia, M.,Walcher, D.,Hutchison, K.,Zengler, J. A.,Garcia, T.,Holland, D.,Cotton, L.,Hauser, & M.,Keller. Targeted Access to the Genomes of Low-Abundance Organisms in Complex Microbial Communities. United States. doi:10.1128/AEM.02985-06.
M.,Podar, C. B.,Abulencia, M.,Walcher, D.,Hutchison, K.,Zengler, J. A.,Garcia, T.,Holland, D.,Cotton, L.,Hauser, and M.,Keller. Thu . "Targeted Access to the Genomes of Low-Abundance Organisms in Complex Microbial Communities". United States. doi:10.1128/AEM.02985-06.
title = {Targeted Access to the Genomes of Low-Abundance Organisms in Complex Microbial Communities},
author = {M.,Podar and C. B.,Abulencia and M.,Walcher and D.,Hutchison and K.,Zengler and J. A.,Garcia and T.,Holland and D.,Cotton and L.,Hauser and M.,Keller},
abstractNote = {},
doi = {10.1128/AEM.02985-06},
journal = {Applied and Environmental Microbiology},
number = 10,
volume = 73,
place = {United States},
year = {Thu May 10 00:00:00 EDT 2007},
month = {Thu May 10 00:00:00 EDT 2007}
  • Current metagenomic approaches to the study of complex microbial consortia provide a glimpse into the community metabolism, and occasionally allow genomic assemblies for the most abundant organisms. However, little information is gained for the members of the community present at low frequency, especially those representing yet uncultured taxa-which includes the bulk of the diversity present in most environments. Here we used phylogenetically directed cell separation by fluorescence in situ hybridization and flow cytometry, followed by amplification and sequencing of a fraction of the genomic DNA of several bacterial cells that belong to the TM7 phylum. Partial genomic assembly allowed, formore » the first time, a look into the evolution and potential metabolism of a soil representative from this group of organisms for which there are no species in stable laboratory cultures. Genomic reconstruction from targeted cells of uncultured organisms directly isolated from the environment represents a powerful approach to access any specific members of a community and an alternative way to assess the community metabolic potential.« less
  • Grouping large genomic fragments assembled from shotgun metagenomic sequences to deconvolute complex microbial communities, or metagenome binning, enables the study of individual organisms and their interactions. Because of the complex nature of these communities, existing metagenome binning methods often miss a large number of microbial species. In addition, most of the tools are not scalable to large datasets. Here we introduce automated software called MetaBAT that integrates empirical probabilistic distances of genome abundance and tetranucleotide frequency for accurate metagenome binning. MetaBAT outperforms alternative methods in accuracy and computational efficiency on both synthetic and real metagenome datasets. Lastly, it automatically formsmore » hundreds of high quality genome bins on a very large assembly consisting millions of contigs in a matter of hours on a single node. MetaBAT is open source software and available at« less
  • Secondary metabolites produced by microbes have diverse biological functions, which makes them a great potential source of biotechnologically relevant compounds with antimicrobial, anti-cancer and other activities. The proteins needed to synthesize these natural products are often encoded by clusters of co-located genes called biosynthetic gene clusters (BCs). In order to advance the exploration of microbial secondary metabolism, we developed the largest publically available database of experimentally verified and predicted BCs, the Integrated Microbial Genomes Atlas of Biosynthetic gene Clusters (IMG-ABC) ( Here, we describe an update of IMG-ABC, which includes ClusterScout, a tool for targeted identification of custom biosynthetic genemore » clusters across 40 000 isolate microbial genomes, and a new search capability to query more than 700 000 BCs from isolate genomes for clusters with similar Pfam composition. Additional features enable fast exploration and analysis of BCs through two new interactive visualization features, a BC function heatmap and a BC similarity network graph. These new tools and features add to the value of IMG-ABC's vast body of BC data, facilitating their in-depth analysis and accelerating secondary metabolite discovery.« less
  • Here, transitions in community genomic features and biogeochemical processes were examined in surface and subsurface chlorophyll maximum (SCM) microbial communities across a trophic gradient from mesotrophic waters near San Diego, California to the oligotrophic Pacific. Transect end points contrasted in thermocline depth, rates of nitrogen and CO 2 uptake, new production and SCM light intensity. Relative to surface waters, bacterial SCM communities displayed greater genetic diversity and enrichment in putative sulfur oxidizers, multiple actinomycetes, low-light-adapted Prochlorococcus and cell-associated viruses. Metagenomic coverage was not correlated with transcriptional activity for several key taxa within Bacteria. Low-light-adapted Prochlorococcus, Synechococcus, and low abundance gamma-proteobacteriamore » enriched in the>3.0-μm size fraction contributed disproportionally to global transcription. The abundance of these groups also correlated with community functions, such as primary production or nitrate uptake. In contrast, many of the most abundant bacterioplankton, including SAR11, SAR86, SAR112 and high-light-adapted Prochlorococcus, exhibited low levels of transcriptional activity and were uncorrelated with rate processes. Eukaryotes such as Haptophytes and non-photosynthetic Aveolates were prevalent in surface samples while Mamielles and Pelagophytes dominated the SCM. Metatranscriptomes generated with ribosomal RNA-depleted mRNA (total mRNA) coupled to in vitro polyadenylation compared with polyA-enriched mRNA revealed a trade-off in detection eukaryotic organelle and eukaryotic nuclear origin transcripts, respectively. Gene expression profiles of SCM eukaryote populations, highly similar in sequence identity to the model pelagophyte Pelagomonas sp. CCMP1756, suggest that pelagophytes are responsible for a majority of nitrate assimilation within the SCM.« less
  • The Test Area North (TAN) site at the Idaho National Laboratory near Idaho Falls, ID, USA, sits over a trichloroethylene (TCE) contaminant plume in the Snake River Plain fractured basalt aquifer. Past observations have provided evidence that TCE at TAN is being transformed by biological natural attenuation that may be primarily due to co-metabolism in aerobic portions of the plume by methanotrophs. TCE co-metabolism by methanotrophs is the result of the broad substrate specificity of microbial methane monooxygenase which permits non-specific oxidation of TCE in addition to the primary substrate, methane. Arrays of experimental approaches have been utilized to understandmore » the biogeochemical processes driving intrinsic TCE co-metabolism at TAN. In this study, aerobic methanotrophs were enumerated by qPCR using primers targeting conserved regions of the genes pmoA and mmoX encoding subunits of the particulate MMO (pMMO) and soluble MMO (sMMO) enzymes, respectively, as well as the gene mxa encoding the downstream enzyme methanol dehydrogenase. Identification of proteins in planktonic and biofilm samples from TAN was determined using reverse phase ultraperformance liquid chromatography (UPLC) coupled with a quadrupole-time-of-flight (QToF) mass spectrometer to separate and sequence peptides from trypsin digests of the protein extracts. Detection of MMO in unenriched water samples from TAN provides direct evidence of intrinsic methane oxidation and TCE co-metabolic potential of the indigenous microbial population. Mass spectrometry is also well suited for distinguishing which form of MMO is expressed in situ either soluble or particulate. Using this method, pMMO proteins were found to be abundant in samples collected from wells within and adjacent to the TCE plume at TAN.« less