Diel Metagenomics and Metatranscriptomics of Elkhorn Slough Hypersaline Microbial Mat
Abstract:To understand the variation in gene expression associated with the daytime oxygenic phototrophic and nighttime fermentation regimes seen in hypersaline microbial mats, a contiguous mat piece was subjected to sampling at regular intervals over a 24-hour diel period. Additionally, to understand the impact of sulfate reduction on biohydrogen consumption, molybdate was added to a parallel experiment in the same run. 4 metagenome and 12 metatranscriptome Illumina HiSeq lanes were completed over day / night, and control / molybdate experiments.
Preliminary comparative examination of noon and midnight metatranscriptomic samples mapped using bowtie2 to reference genomes has revealed several notable results about the dominant mat-building cyanobacterium Microcoleus chthonoplastes PCC 7420.
- Dominant cyanobacterium M. chthonoplastes PCC 7420 shows expression in several pathways for nitrogen scavenging, including nitrogen fixation.
- Reads mapped to M. chthonoplastes PCC 7420 shows expression of two starch storage and utilization pathways, one as a starch-trehalose-maltose-glucose pathway, another through UDP-glucose-cellulose-β-1,4 glucan-glucose pathway.
- The overall trend of gene expression was primarily light driven up-regulation followed by down-regulation in dark, while much of the remaining expression profile appears to be constitutive.
Co-assembly of quality-controlled reads from 4 metagenomes was performed using Ray Meta with progressively smaller K-mer sizes, with bins identified and filtered using principal component analysis of coverages from all libraries and a %GC filter, followed by reassembly of the remaining co-assembly reads and binned reads. Despite having relatively similar abundance profiles in each metagenome, this binning approach was able to distinctly resolve bins from dominant taxa, but also sulfate reducing bacteria that are desired for understanding molybdate inhibition. Bins generated from this iterative assembly process will be used for downstream mapping of transcriptomic reads as well as isolation efforts for Cyanobacteria-associated bacteria.