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Gralnick, Jeffrey A. (Ed.)ABSTRACT Reconstructing microbial genomes from metagenomic short-read data can be challenging due to the unknown and uneven complexity of microbial communities. This complexity encompasses highly diverse populations, which often includes strain variants. Reconstructing high-quality genomes is a crucial part of the metagenomic workflow, as subsequent ecological and metabolic inferences depend on their accuracy, quality, and completeness. In contrast to microbial communities in other ecosystems, there has been no systematic assessment of genome-centric metagenomic workflows for drinking water microbiomes. In this study, we assessed the performance of a combination of assembly and binning strategies for time series drinking water metagenomes that were collected over 6 months. The goal of this study was to identify the combination of assembly and binning approaches that result in high-quality and -quantity metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs), representing most of the sequenced metagenome. Our findings suggest that the metaSPAdes coassembly strategies had the best performance, as they resulted in larger and less fragmented assemblies, with at least 85% of the sequence data mapping to contigs greater than 1 kbp. Furthermore, a combination of metaSPAdes coassembly strategies and MetaBAT2 produced the highest number of medium-quality MAGs while capturing at least 70% of the metagenomes based on read recruitment. Utilizing different assembly/binningmore »
Metagenomics has transformed our understanding of microbial diversity across ecosystems, with recent advances enabling
de novoassembly of genomes from metagenomes. These metagenome-assembled genomes are critical to provide ecological, evolutionary, and metabolic context for all the microbes and viruses yet to be cultivated. Metagenomes can now be generated from nanogram to subnanogram amounts of DNA. However, these libraries require several rounds of PCR amplification before sequencing, and recent data suggest these typically yield smaller and more fragmented assemblies than regular metagenomes. Methods
Here we evaluate
de novoassembly methods of 169 PCR-amplified metagenomes, including 25 for which an unamplified counterpart is available, to optimize specific assembly approaches for PCR-amplified libraries. We first evaluated coverage bias by mapping reads from PCR-amplified metagenomes onto reference contigs obtained from unamplified metagenomes of the same samples. Then, we compared different assembly pipelines in terms of assembly size (number of bp in contigs ≥ 10 kb) and error rates to evaluate which are the best suited for PCR-amplified metagenomes. Results
Read mapping analyses revealed that the depth of coverage within individual genomes is significantly more uneven in PCR-amplified datasets versus unamplified metagenomes, with regions of high depth of coverage enriched in short inserts. This enrichment scales with the number of PCRmore »
PCR-amplified metagenomes have enabled scientists to explore communities traditionally challenging to describe, including some with extremely low biomass or from which DNA is particularly difficult to extract. Here we show that a modified assembly pipeline can lead to an improved
de novogenome assembly from PCR-amplified datasets, and enables a better genome recovery from low input metagenomes.
VEBA: a modular end-to-end suite for in silico recovery, clustering, and analysis of prokaryotic, microeukaryotic, and viral genomes from metagenomes
With the advent of metagenomics, the importance of microorganisms and how their interactions are relevant to ecosystem resilience, sustainability, and human health has become evident. Cataloging and preserving biodiversity is paramount not only for the Earth’s natural systems but also for discovering solutions to challenges that we face as a growing civilization. Metagenomics pertains to the in silico study of all microorganisms within an ecological community in situ
,however, many software suites recover only prokaryotes and have limited to no support for viruses and eukaryotes. Results
In this study, we introduce the
Viral Eukaryotic Bacterial Archaeal(VEBA) open-source software suite developed to recover genomes from all domains. To our knowledge, VEBAis the first end-to-end metagenomics suite that can directly recover, quality assess, and classify prokaryotic, eukaryotic, and viral genomes from metagenomes. VEBAimplements a novel iterative binning procedure and hybrid sample-specific/multi-sample framework that yields more genomes than any existing methodology alone. VEBAincludes a consensus microeukaryotic database containing proteins from existing databases to optimize microeukaryotic gene modeling and taxonomic classification. VEBAalso provides a unique clustering-based dereplication strategy allowing for sample-specific genomes and genes to be directly compared across non-overlapping biological samples. Finally, VEBAis the only pipeline that automates the detection of candidate phyla radiation bacteria and implements the appropriate genomemore » Conclusions
VEBAsoftware suite allows for the in silico recovery of microorganisms from all domains of life by integrating cutting edge algorithms in novel ways. VEBAfully integrates both end-to-end and task-specific metagenomic analysis in a modular architecture that minimizes dependencies and maximizes productivity. The contributions of VEBAto the metagenomics community includes seamless end-to-end metagenomics analysis but also provides users with the flexibility to perform specific analytical tasks. VEBAallows for the automation of several metagenomics steps and shows that new information can be recovered from existing datasets.
Viruses play crucial roles in the ecology of microbial communities, yet they remain relatively understudied in their native environments. Despite many advancements in high-throughput whole-genome sequencing (WGS), sequence assembly, and annotation of viruses, the reconstruction of full-length viral genomes directly from metagenomic sequencing is possible only for the most abundant phages and requires long-read sequencing technologies. Additionally, the prediction of their cellular hosts remains difficult from conventional metagenomic sequencing alone. To address these gaps in the field and to accelerate the study of viruses directly in their native microbiomes, we developed an end-to-end bioinformatics platform for viral genome reconstruction and host attribution from metagenomic data using proximity-ligation sequencing (i.e., Hi-C). We demonstrate the capabilities of the platform by recovering and characterizing the metavirome of a variety of metagenomes, including a fecal microbiome that has also been sequenced with accurate long reads, allowing for the assessment and benchmarking of the new methods. The platform can accurately extract numerous near-complete viral genomes even from highly fragmented short-read assemblies and can reliably predict their cellular hosts with minimal false positives. To our knowledge, this is the first software for performing these tasks. Being significantly cheaper than long-read sequencing of comparable depth, the incorporationmore »
Taxonomic classification of archaeal and bacterial viruses is challenging, yet also fundamental for developing a predictive understanding of microbial ecosystems. Recent identification of hundreds of thousands of new viral genomes and genome fragments, whose hosts remain unknown, requires a paradigm shift away from traditional classification approaches and towards the use of genomes for taxonomy. Here we revisited the use of genomes and their protein content as a means for developing a viral taxonomy for bacterial and archaeal viruses. A network-based analytic was evaluated and benchmarked against authority-accepted taxonomic assignments and found to be largely concordant. Exceptions were manually examined and found to represent areas of viral genome ‘sequence space’ that are under-sampled or prone to excessive genetic exchange. While both cases are poorly resolved by genome-based taxonomic approaches, the former will improve as viral sequence space is better sampled and the latter are uncommon. Finally, given the largely robust taxonomic capabilities of this approach, we sought to enable researchers to easily and systematically classify new viruses. Thus, we established a tool, vConTACT, as an app at iVirus, where it operates as a fast, highly scalable, user-friendly app within the free and powerful CyVerse cyberinfrastructure.