Snow microbiome functional analyses reveal novel aspects of microbial metabolism of complex organic compounds

Abstract

Microbes active in extreme cold are not as well explored as those of other extreme environments. Studies have revealed a substantial microbial diversity and identified cold-specific microbiome molecular functions. We analyzed the metagenomes and metatranscriptomes of 20 snow samples collected in early and late spring in Svalbard, Norway using mi-faser, our read-based computational microbiome function annotation tool. Our results reveal a more diverse microbiome functional capacity and activity in the early- vs. late-spring samples. We also find that functional dissimilarity between the same-sample metagenomes and metatranscriptomes is significantly higher in early than late spring samples. These findings suggest that early spring samples may contain a larger fraction of DNA of dormant (or dead) organisms, while late spring samples reflect a new, metabolically active community. We further show that the abundance of sequencing reads mapping to the fatty acid synthesis-related microbial pathways in late spring metagenomes and metatranscriptomes is significantly correlated with the organic acid levels measured in these samples. Similarly, the organic acid levels correlate with the pathway read abundances of geraniol degradation and inversely correlate with those of styrene degradation, suggesting a possible nutrient change. Our study thus highlights the activity of microbial degradation pathways of complex organic compounds previously unreported at low temperatures.

Publication
MicrobiologyOpen
Chengsheng Zhu
Chengsheng Zhu
PostDoctoral Associate

Hello! 你好!こんにちは!

Maximilian Miller
Maximilian Miller
PostDoctoral Associate

improving variant effect predictions, deciphering metagenomes and creating an efficient service infrastructure

Yana Bromberg
Yana Bromberg
Principal Investigator - Associate Professor of Bioinformatics

My research focuses on deciphering the DNA blueprints of life’s molecular machinery

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