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  1. 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 across 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. 
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  2. Rotaru, Amelia-Elena (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Novel bacterial isolates with the capabilities of lignin depolymerization, catabolism, or both, could be pertinent to lignocellulosic biofuel applications. In this study, we aimed to identify anaerobic bacteria that could address the economic challenges faced with microbial-mediated biotechnologies, such as the need for aeration and mixing. Using a consortium seeded from temperate forest soil and enriched under anoxic conditions with organosolv lignin as the sole carbon source, we successfully isolated a novel bacterium, designated 159R. Based on the 16S rRNA gene, the isolate belongs to the genus Sodalis in the family Bruguierivoracaceae . Whole-genome sequencing revealed a genome size of 6.38 Mbp and a GC content of 55 mol%. To resolve the phylogenetic position of 159R, its phylogeny was reconstructed using (i) 16S rRNA genes of its closest relatives, (ii) multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA) of 100 genes, (iii) 49 clusters of orthologous groups (COG) domains, and (iv) 400 conserved proteins. Isolate 159R was closely related to the deadwood associated Sodalis guild rather than the tsetse fly and other insect endosymbiont guilds. Estimated genome-sequence-based digital DNA-DNA hybridization (dDDH), genome percentage of conserved proteins (POCP), and an alignment analysis between 159R and the Sodalis clade species further supported that isolate 159R was part of the Sodalis genus and a strain of Sodalis ligni . We proposed the name Sodalis ligni str. 159R (=DSM 110549 = ATCC TSD-177). IMPORTANCE Currently, in the paper industry, paper mill pulping relies on unsustainable and costly processes to remove lignin from lignocellulosic material. A greener approach is biopulping, which uses microbes and their enzymes to break down lignin. However, there are limitations to biopulping that prevent it from outcompeting other pulping processes, such as requiring constant aeration and mixing. Anaerobic bacteria are a promising alternative source for consolidated depolymerization of lignin and its conversion to valuable by-products. We presented Sodalis ligni str. 159R and its characteristics as another example of potential mechanisms that can be developed for lignocellulosic applications. 
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  3. 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. 
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  4. Knowlton, Nancy (Ed.)
  5. Metagenomes encode an enormous diversity of proteins, reflecting a multiplicity of functions and activities. Exploration of this vast sequence space has been limited to a comparative analysis against reference microbial genomes and protein families derived from those genomes. Here, to examine the scale of yet untapped functional diversity beyond what is currently possible through the lens of reference genomes, we develop a computational approach to generate reference-free protein families from the sequence space in metagenomes. We analyze 26,931 metagenomes and identify 1.17 billion protein sequences longer than 35 amino acids with no similarity to any sequences from 102,491 reference genomes or the Pfam database. Using massively parallel graph-based clustering, we group these proteins into 106,198 novel sequence clusters with more than 100 members, doubling the number of protein families obtained from the reference genomes clustered using the same approach. We annotate these families on the basis of their taxonomic, habitat, geographical, and gene neighborhood distributions and, where sufficient sequence diversity is available, predict protein three-dimensional models, revealing novel structures. Overall, our results uncover an enormously diverse functional space, highlighting the importance of further exploring the microbial functional dark matter. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 19, 2024
  6. 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. 
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  7. 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 and 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 . 
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  8. Abstract Bacteriophages from the Inoviridae family (inoviruses) are characterized by their unique morphology, genome content and infection cycle. One of the most striking features of inoviruses is their ability to establish a chronic infection whereby the viral genome resides within the cell in either an exclusively episomal state or integrated into the host chromosome and virions are continuously released without killing the host. To date, a relatively small number of inovirus isolates have been extensively studied, either for biotechnological applications, such as phage display, or because of their effect on the toxicity of known bacterial pathogens including Vibrio cholerae and Neisseria meningitidis . Here, we show that the current 56 members of the Inoviridae family represent a minute fraction of a highly diverse group of inoviruses. Using a machine learning approach leveraging a combination of marker gene and genome features, we identified 10,295 inovirus-like sequences from microbial genomes and metagenomes. Collectively, our results call for reclassification of the current Inoviridae family into a viral order including six distinct proposed families associated with nearly all bacterial phyla across virtually every ecosystem. Putative inoviruses were also detected in several archaeal genomes, suggesting that, collectively, members of this supergroup infect hosts across the domains Bacteria and Archaea. Finally, we identified an expansive diversity of inovirus-encoded toxin–antitoxin and gene expression modulation systems, alongside evidence of both synergistic (CRISPR evasion) and antagonistic (superinfection exclusion) interactions with co-infecting viruses, which we experimentally validated in a Pseudomonas model. Capturing this previously obscured component of the global virosphere may spark new avenues for microbial manipulation approaches and innovative biotechnological applications. 
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  9. 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. 
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