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Title: Ecological roles of dominant and rare prokaryotes in acid mine drainage revealed by metagenomics and metatranscriptomics

Here we report that high-throughput sequencing is expanding our knowledge of microbial diversity in the environment. Still, understanding the metabolic potentials and ecological roles of rare and uncultured microbes in natural communities remains a major challenge. To this end, we applied a ‘divide and conquer’ strategy that partitioned a massive metagenomic data set (>100 Gbp) into subsets based on K-mer frequency in sequence assembly to a low-diversity acid mine drainage (AMD) microbial community and, by integrating with an additional metatranscriptomic assembly, successfully obtained 11 draft genomes most of which represent yet uncultured and/or rare taxa (relative abundance <1%). We report the first genome of a naturally occurring Ferrovum population (relative abundance >90%) and its metabolic potentials and gene expression profile, providing initial molecular insights into the ecological role of these lesser known, but potentially important, microorganisms in the AMD environment. Gene transcriptional analysis of the active taxa revealed major metabolic capabilities executed in situ, including carbon- and nitrogen-related metabolisms associated with syntrophic interactions, iron and sulfur oxidation, which are key in energy conservation and AMD generation, and the mechanisms of adaptation and response to the environmental stresses (heavy metals, low pH and oxidative stress). Remarkably, nitrogen fixation and sulfur oxidationmore » were performed by the rare taxa, indicating their critical roles in the overall functioning and assembly of the AMD community. Finally, our study demonstrates the potential of the ‘divide and conquer’ strategy in high-throughput sequencing data assembly for genome reconstruction and functional partitioning analysis of both dominant and rare species in natural microbial assemblages.« less
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  1. Sun Yat-Sen Univ., Guangzhou, (China). School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. College of Ecology and Evolution
  2. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
4093212; U1201233; 31370154
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
The ISME Journal
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 9; Journal Issue: 6; Journal ID: ISSN 1751-7362
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE; National Natural Science Foundation of China (NNSFC)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier: