Comparative genomics of planktonic Flavobacteriaceae from the Gulf of Maine using metagenomic data

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Background: The Gulf of Maine is an important biological province of the Northwest Atlantic with high productivity year round. From an environmental Sanger-based metagenome, sampled in summer and winter, we were able to assemble and explore the partial environmental genomes of uncultured members of the class Flavobacteria. Each of the environmental genomes represents organisms that compose less than 1% of the total microbial metagenome.Results: Four partial environmental genomes were assembled with varying degrees of estimated completeness (37%-84% complete) and were analyzed from a perspective of gathering information regarding niche partitioning between co-occurring organisms. Comparative genomics revealed potentially important niche partitioning genomic variations, including iron transporters and genes associated with cell attachment and polymer degradation. Analysis of large syntenic regions helped reveal potentially ecologically relevant variations for Flavobacteriaceae in the Gulf of Maine, such as arginine biosynthesis, and identify a putative genomic island incorporating novel exogenous genes from the environment.Conclusions: Biogeographic analysis revealed flavobacteria species with distinct abundance patterns suggesting the presence of local blooms relative to the other species, as well as seasonally selected organisms. The analysis of genomic content for the Gulf of Maine Flavobacteria supports the hypothesis of a particle-associated lifestyle and specifically highlights a number of putative coding sequences that may play a role in the remineralization of particulate organic matter. And lastly, analysis of the underlying sequences for each assembled genome revealed seasonal and nonseasonal variants of specific genes implicating a dynamic interaction between individuals within the species.




Tully, B. J., Sachdeva, R., Heidelberg, K. B., & Heidelberg, J. F. (2014). Comparative genomics of planktonic Flavobacteriaceae from the Gulf of Maine using metagenomic data. Microbiome, 2(1).

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