Selection in coastal Synechococcus (cyanobacteria) populations evaluated from environmental metagenomes

Vera Tai, Art F Y Poon, Ian T. Paulsen, Brian Palenik*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Environmental metagenomics provides snippets of genomic sequences from all organisms in an environmental sample and are an unprecedented resource of information for investigating microbial population genetics. Current analytical methods, however, are poorly equipped to handle metagenomic data, particularly of short, unlinked sequences. A custom analytical pipeline was developed to calculate dN/dS ratios, a common metric to evaluate the role of selection in the evolution of a gene, from environmental metagenomes sequenced using 454 technology of flow-sorted populations of marine Synechococcus, the dominant cyanobacteria in coastal environments. The large majority of genes (98%) have evolved under purifying selection (dN/dS<1). The metagenome sequence coverage of the reference genomes was not uniform and genes that were highly represented in the environment (i.e. high read coverage) tended to be more evolutionarily conserved. Of the genes that may have evolved under positive selection (dN/dS>1), 77 out of 83 (93%) were hypothetical. Notable among annotated genes, ribosomal protein L35 appears to be under positive selection in one Synechococcus population. Other annotated genes, in particular a possible porin, a large-conductance mechanosensitive channel, an ATP binding component of an ABC transporter, and a homologue of a pilus retraction protein had regions of the gene with elevated dN/dS. With the increasing use of next-generation sequencing in metagenomic investigations of microbial diversity and ecology, analytical methods need to accommodate the peculiarities of these data streams. By developing a means to analyze population diversity data from these environmental metagenomes, we have provided the first insight into the role of selection in the evolution of Synechococcus, a globally significant primary producer.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere24249
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume6
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sep 2011

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2011 the Author(s). Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

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