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1.  Next generation sequencing shows high variation of the intestinal microbial species composition in Atlantic cod caught at a single location 
BMC Microbiology  2013;13:248.
The observation that specific members of the microbial intestinal community can be shared among vertebrate hosts has promoted the concept of a core microbiota whose composition is determined by host-specific selection. Most studies investigating this concept in individual hosts have focused on mammals, yet the diversity of fish lineages provides unique comparative opportunities from an evolutionary, immunological and environmental perspective. Here we describe microbial intestinal communities of eleven individual Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) caught at a single location based on an extensively 454 sequenced 16S rRNA library of the V3 region.
We obtained a total of 280447 sequences and identify 573 Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) at 97% sequence similarity level, ranging from 40 to 228 OTUs per individual. We find that ten OTUs are shared, though the number of reads of these OTUs is highly variable. This variation is further illustrated by community diversity estimates that fluctuate several orders of magnitude among specimens. The shared OTUs belong to the orders of Vibrionales, which quantitatively dominate the Atlantic cod intestinal microbiota, followed by variable numbers of Bacteroidales, Erysipelotrichales, Clostridiales, Alteromonadales and Deferribacterales.
The microbial intestinal community composition varies significantly in individual Atlantic cod specimens caught at a single location. This high variation among specimens suggests that a complex combination of factors influence the species distribution of these intestinal communities.
PMCID: PMC3840566  PMID: 24206635
2.  Alterations of microbiota in urine from women with interstitial cystitis 
BMC Microbiology  2012;12:205.
Interstitial Cystitis (IC) is a chronic inflammatory condition of the bladder with unknown etiology. The aim of this study was to characterize the microbial community present in the urine from IC female patients by 454 high throughput sequencing of the 16S variable regions V1V2 and V6. The taxonomical composition, richness and diversity of the IC microbiota were determined and compared to the microbial profile of asymptomatic healthy female (HF) urine.
The composition and distribution of bacterial sequences differed between the urine microbiota of IC patients and HFs. Reduced sequence richness and diversity were found in IC patient urine, and a significant difference in the community structure of IC urine in relation to HF urine was observed. More than 90% of the IC sequence reads were identified as belonging to the bacterial genus Lactobacillus, a marked increase compared to 60% in HF urine.
The 16S rDNA sequence data demonstrates a shift in the composition of the bacterial community in IC urine. The reduced microbial diversity and richness is accompanied by a higher abundance of the bacterial genus Lactobacillus, compared to HF urine. This study demonstrates that high throughput sequencing analysis of urine microbiota in IC patients is a powerful tool towards a better understanding of this enigmatic disease.
PMCID: PMC3538702  PMID: 22974186
3.  Metagenomic and geochemical characterization of pockmarked sediments overlaying the Troll petroleum reservoir in the North Sea 
BMC Microbiology  2012;12:203.
Pockmarks (depressions in the seabed) have been discovered throughout the world’s oceans and are often related to hydrocarbon seepage. Although high concentrations of pockmarks are present in the seabed overlaying the Troll oil and gas reservoir in the northern North Sea, geological surveys have not detected hydrocarbon seepage in this area at the present time. In this study we have used metagenomics to characterize the prokaryotic communities inhabiting the surface sediments in the Troll area in relation to geochemical parameters, particularly related to hydrocarbon presence. We also investigated the possibility of increased potential for methane oxidation related to the pockmarks. Five metagenomes from pockmarks and plain seabed sediments were sequenced by pyrosequencing (Roche/454) technology. In addition, two metagenomes from seabed sediments geologically unlikely to be influenced by hydrocarbon seepage (the Oslofjord) were included. The taxonomic distribution and metabolic potential of the metagenomes were analyzed by multivariate analysis and statistical comparisons to reveal variation within and between the two sampling areas.
The main difference identified between the two sampling areas was an overabundance of predominantly autotrophic nitrifiers, especially Nitrosopumilus, and oligotrophic marine Gammaproteobacteria in the Troll metagenomes compared to the Oslofjord. Increased potential for degradation of hydrocarbons, especially aromatic hydrocarbons, was detected in two of the Troll samples: one pockmark sample and one from the plain seabed. Although presence of methanotrophic organisms was indicated in all samples, no overabundance in pockmark samples compared to the Oslofjord samples supports no, or only low level, methane seepage in the Troll pockmarks at the present time.
Given the relatively low content of total organic carbon and great depths of hydrocarbon containing sediments in the Troll area, it is possible that at least part of the carbon source available for the predominantly autotrophic nitrifiers thriving in this area originates from sequential prokaryotic degradation and oxidation of hydrocarbons to CO2. By turning CO2 back into organic carbon this subcommunity could play an important environmental role in these dark oligotrophic sediments. The oxidation of ammonia to nitrite and nitrate in this process could further increase the supply of terminal electron acceptors for hydrocarbon degradation.
PMCID: PMC3478177  PMID: 22966776
4.  Assessing diversity of the female urine microbiota by high throughput sequencing of 16S rDNA amplicons 
BMC Microbiology  2011;11:244.
Urine within the urinary tract is commonly regarded as "sterile" in cultivation terms. Here, we present a comprehensive in-depth study of bacterial 16S rDNA sequences associated with urine from healthy females by means of culture-independent high-throughput sequencing techniques.
Sequencing of the V1V2 and V6 regions of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene using the 454 GS FLX system was performed to characterize the possible bacterial composition in 8 culture-negative (<100,000 CFU/ml) healthy female urine specimens. Sequences were compared to 16S rRNA databases and showed significant diversity, with the predominant genera detected being Lactobacillus, Prevotella and Gardnerella. The bacterial profiles in the female urine samples studied were complex; considerable variation between individuals was observed and a common microbial signature was not evident. Notably, a significant amount of sequences belonging to bacteria with a known pathogenic potential was observed. The number of operational taxonomic units (OTUs) for individual samples varied substantially and was in the range of 20 - 500.
Normal female urine displays a noticeable and variable bacterial 16S rDNA sequence richness, which includes fastidious and anaerobic bacteria previously shown to be associated with female urogenital pathology.
PMCID: PMC3228714  PMID: 22047020
5.  A metagenomic study of methanotrophic microorganisms in Coal Oil Point seep sediments 
BMC Microbiology  2011;11:221.
Methane oxidizing prokaryotes in marine sediments are believed to function as a methane filter reducing the oceanic contribution to the global methane emission. In the anoxic parts of the sediments, oxidation of methane is accomplished by anaerobic methanotrophic archaea (ANME) living in syntrophy with sulphate reducing bacteria. This anaerobic oxidation of methane is assumed to be a coupling of reversed methanogenesis and dissimilatory sulphate reduction. Where oxygen is available aerobic methanotrophs take part in methane oxidation. In this study, we used metagenomics to characterize the taxonomic and metabolic potential for methane oxidation at the Tonya seep in the Coal Oil Point area, California. Two metagenomes from different sediment depth horizons (0-4 cm and 10-15 cm below sea floor) were sequenced by 454 technology. The metagenomes were analysed to characterize the distribution of aerobic and anaerobic methanotrophic taxa at the two sediment depths. To gain insight into the metabolic potential the metagenomes were searched for marker genes associated with methane oxidation.
Blast searches followed by taxonomic binning in MEGAN revealed aerobic methanotrophs of the genus Methylococcus to be overrepresented in the 0-4 cm metagenome compared to the 10-15 cm metagenome. In the 10-15 cm metagenome, ANME of the ANME-1 clade, were identified as the most abundant methanotrophic taxon with 8.6% of the reads. Searches for particulate methane monooxygenase (pmoA) and methyl-coenzyme M reductase (mcrA), marker genes for aerobic and anaerobic oxidation of methane respectively, identified pmoA in the 0-4 cm metagenome as Methylococcaceae related. The mcrA reads from the 10-15 cm horizon were all classified as originating from the ANME-1 clade.
Most of the taxa detected were present in both metagenomes and differences in community structure and corresponding metabolic potential between the two samples were mainly due to abundance differences.
The results suggests that the Tonya Seep sediment is a robust methane filter, where taxa presently dominating this process could be replaced by less abundant methanotrophic taxa in case of changed environmental conditions.
PMCID: PMC3197505  PMID: 21970369
6.  Telonemia-specific environmental 18S rDNA PCR reveals unknown diversity and multiple marine-freshwater colonizations 
BMC Microbiology  2010;10:168.
Recent surveys of eukaryote 18S rDNA diversity in marine habitats have uncovered worldwide distribution of the heterotrophic eukaryote phylum Telonemia. Here we investigate the diversity and geographic distribution of Telonemia sequences by in-depth sequencing of several new 18S rDNA clone libraries from both marine and freshwater sites by using a Telonemia-specific PCR strategy.
In contrast to earlier studies that have employed eukaryote-wide PCR design, we identified a large and unknown diversity of phylotypes and the first rigorous evidence for several freshwater species, altogether comprising 91 unique sequences. Phylogenies of these and publicly available sequences showed 20 statistically supported sub-clades as well as several solitary phylotypes with no clear phylogenetic affiliation. Most of these sub-clades were composed of phylotypes from different geographic regions.
By using specific PCR primers we reveal a much larger diversity of Telonemia from environmental samples than previously uncovered by eukaryote-wide primers. The new data substantially diminish the geographic structuring of clades identified in earlier studies. Nevertheless, since these clades comprise several distinct phylotypes we cannot exclude endemicity at species level. We identified two freshwater clades and a few solitary phylotypes, implying that Telonemia have colonized freshwater habitats and adapted to the different environmental and ecological conditions at independent occasions.
PMCID: PMC2891722  PMID: 20534135
7.  Recombination and selectional forces in cyanopeptolin NRPS operons from highly similar, but geographically remote Planktothrix strains 
BMC Microbiology  2008;8:141.
Cyanopeptolins are nonribosomally produced heptapetides showing a highly variable composition. The cyanopeptolin synthetase operon has previously been investigated in three strains from the genera Microcystis, Planktothrix and Anabaena. Cyanopeptolins are displaying protease inhibitor activity, but the biological function(s) is (are) unknown. Cyanopeptolin gene cluster variability and biological functions of the peptide variants are likely to be interconnected.
We have investigated two cyanopeptolin gene clusters from highly similar, but geographically remote strains of the same genus. Sequencing of a nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) cyanopeptolin gene cluster from the Japanese strain Planktothrix NIES 205 (205-oci), showed the 30 kb gene cluster to be highly similar to the oci gene cluster previously described in Planktothrix NIVA CYA 116, isolated in Norway. Both operons contained seven NRPS modules, a sulfotransferase (S) and a glyceric acid loading (GA)-domain. Sequence analyses showed a high degree of conservation, except for the presence of an epimerase domain in NIES 205 and the regions around the epimerase, showing high substitution rates and Ka/Ks values above 1. The two strains produce almost identical cyanopeptolins, cyanopeptolin-1138 and oscillapeptin E respectively, but with slight differences regarding the production of minor cyanopeptolin variants. These variants may be the result of relaxed adenylation (A)-domain specificity in the nonribosomal enzyme complex. Other genetic markers (16S rRNA, ntcA and the phycocyanin cpcBA spacer) were identical, supporting that these geographically separated Planktothrix strains are closely related.
A horizontal gene transfer event resulting in exchange of a whole module-encoding region was observed. Nucleotide statistics indicate that both purifying selection and positive selection forces are operating on the gene cluster. The positive selection forces are acting within and around the epimerase insertion while purifying selection conserves the remaining (major) part of the gene cluster. The presence of an epimerase in the gene cluster is in line with the D-configuration of Htyr, determined experimentally in oscillapeptin E in a previous study.
PMCID: PMC2533009  PMID: 18727817

Results 1-7 (7)