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  1. Stajich, Jason E. (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT We present 49 metagenome assemblies of the microbiome associated with Sphagnum (peat moss) collected from ambient, artificially warmed, and geothermally warmed conditions across Europe. These data will enable further research regarding the impact of climate change on plant-microbe symbiosis, ecology, and ecosystem functioning of northern peatland ecosystems.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2023
  2. Abstract With advances in DNA sequencing and miniaturized molecular biology workflows, rapid and affordable sequencing of single-cell genomes has become a reality. Compared to 16S rRNA gene surveys and shotgun metagenomics, large-scale application of single-cell genomics to whole microbial communities provides an integrated snapshot of community composition and function, directly links mobile elements to their hosts, and enables analysis of population heterogeneity of the dominant community members. To that end, we sequenced nearly 500 single-cell genomes from a low diversity hot spring sediment sample from Dewar Creek, British Columbia, and compared this approach to 16S rRNA gene amplicon and shotgun metagenomics applied to the same sample. We found that the broad taxonomic profiles were similar across the three sequencing approaches, though several lineages were missing from the 16S rRNA gene amplicon dataset, likely the result of primer mismatches. At the functional level, we detected a large array of mobile genetic elements present in the single-cell genomes but absent from the corresponding same species metagenome-assembled genomes. Moreover, we performed a single-cell population genomic analysis of the three most abundant community members, revealing differences in population structure based on mutation and recombination profiles. While the average pairwise nucleotide identities were similar acrossmore »the dominant species-level lineages, we observed differences in the extent of recombination between these dominant populations. Most intriguingly, the creek’s Hydrogenobacter sp . population appeared to be so recombinogenic that it more closely resembled a sexual species than a clonally evolving microbe. Together, this work demonstrates that a randomized single-cell approach can be useful for the exploration of previously uncultivated microbes from community composition to population structure.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
  3. Abstract Temperate phages are viruses of bacteria that can establish two types of infection: a lysogenic infection in which the virus replicates with the host cell without producing virions, and a lytic infection where the host cell is eventually destroyed, and new virions are released. While both lytic and lysogenic infections are routinely observed in the environment, the ecological and evolutionary processes regulating these viral dynamics are still not well understood, especially for uncultivated virus-host pairs. Here, we characterized the long-term dynamics of uncultivated viruses infecting green sulfur bacteria (GSB) in a model freshwater lake (Trout Bog Lake, TBL). As no GSB virus has been formally described yet, we first used two complementary approaches to identify new GSB viruses from TBL; one in vitro based on flow cytometry cell sorting, the other in silico based on CRISPR spacer sequences. We then took advantage of existing TBL metagenomes covering the 2005–2018 period to examine the interactions between GSB and their viruses across years and seasons. From our data, GSB populations in TBL were constantly associated with at least 2-8 viruses each, including both lytic and temperate phages. The dominant GSB population in particular was consistently associated with two prophages with amore »nearly 100% infection rate for >10 years. We illustrate with a theoretical model that such an interaction can be stable given a low, but persistent, level of prophage induction in low-diversity host populations. Overall, our data suggest that lytic and lysogenic viruses can readily co-infect the same host population, and that host strain-level diversity might be an important factor controlling virus-host dynamics including lytic/lysogeny switch.« less
  4. Abstract

    Changes in the sequence of an organism’s genome, i.e., mutations, are the raw material of evolution. The frequency and location of mutations can be constrained by specific molecular mechanisms, such as diversity-generating retroelements (DGRs). DGRs have been characterized from cultivated bacteria and bacteriophages, and perform error-prone reverse transcription leading to mutations being introduced in specific target genes. DGR loci were also identified in several metagenomes, but the ecological roles and evolutionary drivers of these DGRs remain poorly understood. Here, we analyze a dataset of >30,000 DGRs from public metagenomes, establish six major lineages of DGRs including three primarily encoded by phages and seemingly used to diversify host attachment proteins, and demonstrate that DGRs are broadly active and responsible for >10% of all amino acid changes in some organisms. Overall, these results highlight the constraints under which DGRs evolve, and elucidate several distinct roles these elements play in natural communities.

  5. Cameron Thrash, J. (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Hydrologic changes modify microbial community structure and ecosystem functions, especially in wetland systems. Here, we present 24 metagenomes from a coastal freshwater wetland experiment in which we manipulated hydrologic conditions and plant presence. These wetland soil metagenomes will deepen our understanding of how hydrology and vegetation influence microbial functional diversity.
  6. Thermoflexus hugenholtzii JAD2 T , the only cultured representative of the Chloroflexota order Thermoflexales , is abundant in Great Boiling Spring (GBS), NV, United States, and close relatives inhabit geothermal systems globally. However, no defined medium exists for T. hugenholtzii JAD2 T and no single carbon source is known to support its growth, leaving key knowledge gaps in its metabolism and nutritional needs. Here, we report comparative genomic analysis of the draft genome of T. hugenholtzii JAD2 T and eight closely related metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) from geothermal sites in China, Japan, and the United States, representing “ Candidatus Thermoflexus japonica,” “ Candidatus Thermoflexus tengchongensis,” and “ Candidatus Thermoflexus sinensis.” Genomics was integrated with targeted exometabolomics and 13 C metabolic probing of T. hugenholtzii . The Thermoflexus genomes each code for complete central carbon metabolic pathways and an unusually high abundance and diversity of peptidases, particularly Metallo- and Serine peptidase families, along with ABC transporters for peptides and some amino acids. The T. hugenholtzii JAD2 T exometabolome provided evidence of extracellular proteolytic activity based on the accumulation of free amino acids. However, several neutral and polar amino acids appear not to be utilized, based on their accumulation in the medium andmore »the lack of annotated transporters. Adenine and adenosine were scavenged, and thymine and nicotinic acid were released, suggesting interdependency with other organisms in situ . Metabolic probing of T. hugenholtzii JAD2 T using 13 C-labeled compounds provided evidence of oxidation of glucose, pyruvate, cysteine, and citrate, and functioning glycolytic, tricarboxylic acid (TCA), and oxidative pentose-phosphate pathways (PPPs). However, differential use of position-specific 13 C-labeled compounds showed that glycolysis and the TCA cycle were uncoupled. Thus, despite the high abundance of Thermoflexus in sediments of some geothermal systems, they appear to be highly focused on chemoorganotrophy, particularly protein degradation, and may interact extensively with other microorganisms in situ .« less
  7. Abstract

    Our current knowledge of host–virus interactions in biofilms is limited to computational predictions based on laboratory experiments with a small number of cultured bacteria. However, natural biofilms are diverse and chiefly composed of uncultured bacteria and archaea with no viral infection patterns and lifestyle predictions described to date. Herein, we predict the first DNA sequence-based host–virus interactions in a natural biofilm. Using single-cell genomics and metagenomics applied to a hot spring mat of the Cone Pool in Mono County, California, we provide insights into virus–host range, lifestyle and distribution across different mat layers. Thirty-four out of 130 single cells contained at least one viral contig (26%), which, together with the metagenome-assembled genomes, resulted in detection of 59 viruses linked to 34 host species. Analysis of single-cell amplification kinetics revealed a lack of active viral replication on the single-cell level. These findings were further supported by mapping metagenomic reads from different mat layers to the obtained host–virus pairs, which indicated a low copy number of viral genomes compared to their hosts. Lastly, the metagenomic data revealed high layer specificity of viruses, suggesting limited diffusion to other mat layers. Taken together, these observations indicate that in low mobility environments with highmore »microbial abundance, lysogeny is the predominant viral lifestyle, in line with the previously proposed “Piggyback-the-Winner” theory.

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  8. null (Ed.)
    Abstract The reconstruction of bacterial and archaeal genomes from shotgun metagenomes has enabled insights into the ecology and evolution of environmental and host-associated microbiomes. Here we applied this approach to >10,000 metagenomes collected from diverse habitats covering all of Earth’s continents and oceans, including metagenomes from human and animal hosts, engineered environments, and natural and agricultural soils, to capture extant microbial, metabolic and functional potential. This comprehensive catalog includes 52,515 metagenome-assembled genomes representing 12,556 novel candidate species-level operational taxonomic units spanning 135 phyla. The catalog expands the known phylogenetic diversity of bacteria and archaea by 44% and is broadly available for streamlined comparative analyses, interactive exploration, metabolic modeling and bulk download. We demonstrate the utility of this collection for understanding secondary-metabolite biosynthetic potential and for resolving thousands of new host linkages to uncultivated viruses. This resource underscores the value of genome-centric approaches for revealing genomic properties of uncultivated microorganisms that affect ecosystem processes.