ABSTRACT Diversification can generate genomic and phenotypic strain-level diversity within microbial species. This microdiversity is widely recognized in populations, but the community-level consequences of microbial strain-level diversity are poorly characterized. Using the cheese rind model system, we tested whether strain diversity across microbiomes from distinct geographic regions impacts assembly dynamics and functional outputs. We first isolated the same three bacterial species ( Staphylococcus equorum , Brevibacterium auranticum , and Brachybacterium alimentarium ) from nine cheeses produced in different regions of the United States and Europe to construct nine synthetic microbial communities consisting of distinct strains of the same three bacterial species. Comparative genomics identified distinct phylogenetic clusters and significant variation in genome content across the nine synthetic communities. When we assembled each synthetic community with initially identical compositions, community structure diverged over time, resulting in communities with different dominant taxa. The taxonomically identical communities showed differing responses to abiotic (high salt) and biotic (the fungus Penicillium ) perturbations, with some communities showing no response and others substantially shifting in composition. Functional differences were also observed across the nine communities, with significant variation in pigment production (light yellow to orange) and in composition of volatile organic compound profiles emitted from themore »
inStrain profiles population microdiversity from metagenomic data and sensitively detects shared microbial strains
Coexisting microbial cells of the same species often exhibit genetic variation that can affect phenotypes ranging from nutrient preference to pathogenicity. Here we present inStrain, a program that uses metagenomic paired reads to profile intra-population genetic diversity (microdiversity) across whole genomes and compares microbial populations in a microdiversity-aware man- ner, greatly increasing the accuracy of genomic comparisons when benchmarked against existing methods. We use inStrain to profile >1,000 fecal metagenomes from newborn premature infants and find that siblings share significantly more strains than unrelated infants, although identical twins share no more strains than fraternal siblings. Infants born by cesarean section har- bor Klebsiella with significantly higher nucleotide diversity than infants delivered vaginally, potentially reflecting acquisition from hospital rather than maternal microbiomes. Genomic loci that show diversity in individual infants include variants found between other infants, possibly reflecting inoculation from diverse hospital-associated sources. inStrain can be applied to any metagenomic dataset for microdiversity analysis and rigorous strain comparison.
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- Nature Biotechnology
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- National Science Foundation
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