Red Sea SAR11 and <em>Prochlorococcus</em> Single-Cell Genomes Reflect Globally Distributed Pangenomes
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Red Sea SAR11 and Prochlorococcus Single-Cell Genomes Reflect Globally Distributed Pangenomes

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  • Journal Title:
    Applied and Environmental Microbiology
  • Description:
    Evidence suggests many marine bacteria are cosmopolitan, with widespread but sparse strains poised to seed abundant populations under conducive growth conditions. However, studies supporting this “microbial seed bank” hypothesis have analyzed taxonomic marker genes rather than whole genomes/metagenomes, leaving open the possibility that disparate ocean regions harbor endemic gene content. The Red Sea is isolated geographically from the rest of the ocean and has a combination of high irradiance, high temperature, and high salinity that is unique among the oceans; we therefore asked whether it harbors endemic gene content. We sequenced and assembled single-cell genomes of 21 SAR11 (subclades Ia, Ib, Id, and II) and 5 Prochlorococcus (ecotype HLII) samples from the Red Sea and combined them with globally sourced reference genomes to cluster genes into ortholog groups (OGs). Ordination of OG composition could distinguish clades, including phylogenetically cryptic Prochlorococcus ecotypes LLII and LLIII. Compared with reference genomes, 1% of Prochlorococcus and 17% of SAR11 OGs were unique to the Red Sea genomes (RS-OGs). Most (83%) RS-OGs had no annotated function, but 65% of RS-OGs were expressed in diel Red Sea metatranscriptomes, suggesting they are functional. Searching Tara Oceans metagenomes, RS-OGs were as likely to be found as non-RS-OGs; nevertheless, Red Sea and other warm samples could be distinguished from cooler samples using the relative abundances of OGs. The results suggest that the prevalence of OGs in these surface ocean bacteria is largely cosmopolitan, with differences in population metagenomes manifested by differences in relative abundance rather than complete presence/absence of OGs.IMPORTANCE Studies have shown that as we sequence seawater from a selected environment deeper and deeper, we approach finding every bacterial taxon known for the ocean as a whole. However, such studies have focused on taxonomic marker genes rather than on whole genomes, raising the possibility that the lack of endemism results from the method of investigation. We took a geographically isolated water body, the Red Sea, and sequenced single cells from it. We compared those single-cell genomes to available genomes from around the ocean and to ocean-spanning metagenomes. We showed that gene ortholog groups found in Red Sea genomes but not in other genomes are nevertheless common across global ocean metagenomes. These results suggest that Baas Becking’s hypothesis “everything is everywhere, but the environment selects” also applies to gene ortholog groups. This widely dispersed functional diversity may give oceanic microbial communities the functional capacity to respond rapidly to changing conditions.
  • Source:
    Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 85(13), e00369-19.
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  • Rights Information:
    CC BY
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