The "dark matter of life" describes microbes and even entire divisions of bacterial phyla that have evaded cultivation and have yet to be sequenced. We present a genome from the globally distributed but elusive candidate phylum TM6 and uncover its metabolic potential. TM6 was detected in a biofilm from a sink drain within a hospital restroom by analyzing cells using a highly automated single-cell genomics platform. We developed an approach for increasing throughput and effectively improving the likelihood of sampling rare events based on forming small random pools of single-flow-sorted cells, amplifying their DNA by multiple displacement amplification and sequencing all cells in the pool, creating a "mini-metagenome." A recently developed single-cell assembler, SPAdes, in combination with contig binning methods, allowed the reconstruction of genomes from these mini-metagenomes. A total of 1.07 Mb was recovered in seven contigs for this member of TM6 (JCVI TM6SC1), estimated to represent 90% of its genome. High nucleotide identity between a total of three TM6 genome drafts generated from pools that were independently captured, amplified, and assembled provided strong confirmation of a correct genomic sequence. TM6 is likely a Gram-negative organism and possibly a symbiont of an unknown host (nonfree living) in part based on its small genome, low-GC content, and lack of biosynthesis pathways for most amino acids and vitamins. Phylogenomic analysis of conserved single-copy genes confirms that TM6SC1 is a deeply branching phylum.
Although biofilms have been shown to be reservoirs of pathogens, our knowledge of the microbial diversity in biofilms within critical areas, such as health care facilities, is limited. Available methods for pathogen identification and strain typing have some inherent restrictions. In particular, culturing will yield only a fraction of the species present, PCR of virulence or marker genes is mainly focused on a handful of known species, and shotgun metagenomics is limited in the ability to detect strain variations. In this study, we present a single-cell genome sequencing approach to address these limitations and demonstrate it by specifically targeting bacterial cells within a complex biofilm from a hospital bathroom sink drain. A newly developed, automated platform was used to generate genomic DNA by the multiple displacement amplification (MDA) technique from hundreds of single cells in parallel. MDA reactions were screened and classified by 16S rRNA gene PCR sequence, which revealed a broad range of bacteria covering 25 different genera representing environmental species, human commensals, and opportunistic human pathogens. Here we focus on the recovery of a nearly complete genome representing a novel strain of the periodontal pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis JCVI SC001) using the single-cell assembly tool SPAdes. Single-cell genomics is becoming an accepted method to capture novel genomes, primarily in the marine and soil environments. Here we show for the first time that it also enables comparative genomic analysis of strain variation in a pathogen captured from complex biofilm samples in a healthcare facility.
Bacteria in the 16S rRNA clade SAR86 are among the most abundant uncultivated constituents of microbial assemblages in the surface ocean for which little genomic information is currently available. Bioinformatic techniques were used to assemble two nearly complete genomes from marine metagenomes and single-cell sequencing provided two more partial genomes. Recruitment of metagenomic data shows that these SAR86 genomes substantially increase our knowledge of non-photosynthetic bacteria in the surface ocean. Phylogenomic analyses establish SAR86 as a basal and divergent lineage of ?-proteobacteria, and the individual genomes display a temperature-dependent distribution. Modestly sized at 1.25-1.7 Mbp, the SAR86 genomes lack several pathways for amino-acid and vitamin synthesis as well as sulfate reduction, trends commonly observed in other abundant marine microbes. SAR86 appears to be an aerobic chemoheterotroph with the potential for proteorhodopsin-based ATP generation, though the apparent lack of a retinal biosynthesis pathway may require it to scavenge exogenously-derived pigments to utilize proteorhodopsin. The genomes contain an expanded capacity for the degradation of lipids and carbohydrates acquired using a wealth of tonB-dependent outer membrane receptors. Like the abundant planktonic marine bacterial clade SAR11, SAR86 exhibits metabolic streamlining, but also a distinct carbon compound specialization, possibly avoiding competition.
Whole genome amplification by the multiple displacement amplification (MDA) method allows sequencing of DNA from single cells of bacteria that cannot be cultured. Assembling a genome is challenging, however, because MDA generates highly nonuniform coverage of the genome. Here we describe an algorithm tailored for short-read data from single cells that improves assembly through the use of a progressively increasing coverage cutoff. Assembly of reads from single Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus cells captures >91% of genes within contigs, approaching the 95% captured from an assembly based on many E. coli cells. We apply this method to assemble a genome from a single cell of an uncultivated SAR324 clade of Deltaproteobacteria, a cosmopolitan bacterial lineage in the global ocean. Metabolic reconstruction suggests that SAR324 is aerobic, motile and chemotaxic. Our approach enables acquisition of genome assemblies for individual uncultivated bacteria using only short reads, providing cell-specific genetic information absent from metagenomic studies.
The paucity of sequence data from pelagic deep-ocean microbial assemblages has severely restricted molecular exploration of the largest biome on Earth. In this study, an analysis is presented of a large-scale 454-pyrosequencing metagenomic dataset from a hadopelagic environment from 6,000 m depth within the Puerto Rico Trench (PRT). A total of 145 Mbp of assembled sequence data was generated and compared to two pelagic deep ocean metagenomes and two representative surface seawater datasets from the Sargasso Sea. In a number of instances, all three deep metagenomes displayed similar trends, but were most magnified in the PRT, including enrichment in functions for two-component signal transduction mechanisms and transcriptional regulation. Overrepresented transporters in the PRT metagenome included outer membrane porins, diverse cation transporters, and di- and tri-carboxylate transporters that matched well with the prevailing catabolic processes such as butanoate, glyoxylate and dicarboxylate metabolism. A surprisingly high abundance of sulfatases for the degradation of sulfated polysaccharides were also present in the PRT. The most dramatic adaptational feature of the PRT microbes appears to be heavy metal resistance, as reflected in the large numbers of transporters present for their removal. As a complement to the metagenome approach, single-cell genomic techniques were utilized to generate partial whole-genome sequence data from four uncultivated cells from members of the dominant phyla within the PRT, Alphaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria, Bacteroidetes and Planctomycetes. The single-cell sequence data provided genomic context for many of the highly abundant functional attributes identified from the PRT metagenome, as well as recruiting heavily the PRT metagenomic sequence data compared to 172 available reference marine genomes. Through these multifaceted sequence approaches, new insights have been provided into the unique functional attributes present in microbes residing in a deeper layer of the ocean far removed from the more productive sun-drenched zones above.
Pathways of mutagenesis are induced in microbes under adverse conditions controlled by stress responses. Control of mutagenesis by stress responses may accelerate evolution specifically when cells are maladapted to their environments, i.e. are stressed. Stress-induced mutagenesis in the Escherichia coli Lac assay occurs either by point mutation or gene amplification. Point mutagenesis is associated with DNA double-strand-break (DSB) repair and requires DinB error-prone DNA polymerase and the SOS DNA-damage- and RpoS general-stress responses. We report that the RpoE envelope-protein-stress response is also required. In a screen for mutagenesis-defective mutants, we isolated a transposon insertion in the rpoE P2 promoter. The insertion prevents rpoE induction during stress, but leaves constitutive expression intact, and allows cell viability. rpoE insertion and suppressed null mutants display reduced point mutagenesis and maintenance of amplified DNA. Furthermore, sigma(E) acts independently of stress responses previously implicated: SOS/DinB and RpoS, and of sigma(32), which was postulated to affect mutagenesis. I-SceI-induced DSBs alleviated much of the rpoE phenotype, implying that sigma(E) promoted DSB formation. Thus, a third stress response and stress input regulate DSB-repair-associated stress-induced mutagenesis. This provides the first report of mutagenesis promoted by sigma(E), and implies that extracytoplasmic stressors may affect genome integrity and, potentially, the ability to evolve.
Mechanisms of DNA repair and mutagenesis are defined on the basis of relatively few proteins acting on DNA, yet the identities and functions of all proteins required are unknown. Here, we identify the network that underlies mutagenic repair of DNA breaks in stressed Escherichia coli and define functions for much of it. Using a comprehensive screen, we identified a network of ?93 genes that function in mutation. Most operate upstream of activation of three required stress responses (RpoS, RpoE, and SOS, key network hubs), apparently sensing stress. The results reveal how a network integrates mutagenic repair into the biology of the cell, show specific pathways of environmental sensing, demonstrate the centrality of stress responses, and imply that these responses are attractive as potential drug targets for blocking the evolution of pathogens.
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