Validation of key sponge symbiont pathways using genome-centric metatranscriptomics

O'Brien, Paul A., Tan, Shangjin, Frade, Pedro R., Robbins, Steven J., Engelberts, J. Pamela, Bell, Sara C., Vanwonterghem, Inka, Miller, David J., Webster, Nicole S., Zhang, Guojie, and Bourne, David G. (2023) Validation of key sponge symbiont pathways using genome-centric metatranscriptomics. Environmental Microbiology, 25 (12). pp. 3207-3224.

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The sponge microbiome underpins host function through provision and recycling of essential nutrients in a nutrient poor environment. Genomic data suggest that carbohydrate degradation, carbon fixation, nitrogen metabolism, sulphur metabolism and supplementation of B-vitamins are central microbial functions. However, validation beyond the genomic potential of sponge symbiont pathways is rarely explored. To evaluate metagenomic predictions, we sequenced the metagenomes and metatranscriptomes of three common coral reef sponges: Ircinia ramosa, Ircinia microconulosa and Phyllospongia foliascens. Multiple carbohydrate active enzymes were expressed by Poribacteria, Bacteroidota and Cyanobacteria symbionts, suggesting these lineages have a central role in assimilating dissolved organic matter. Expression of entire pathways for carbon fixation and multiple sulphur compound transformations were observed in all sponges. Gene expression for anaerobic nitrogen metabolism (denitrification and nitrate reduction) were more common than aerobic metabolism (nitrification), where only the I. ramosa microbiome expressed the nitrification pathway. Finally, while expression of the biosynthetic pathways for B-vitamins was common, the expression of additional transporter genes was far more limited. Overall, we highlight consistencies and disparities between metagenomic and metatranscriptomic results when inferring microbial activity, while uncovering new microbial taxa that contribute to the health of their sponge host via nutrient exchange.

Item ID: 80927
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1462-2920
Copyright Information: © 2023 Commonwealth of Australia and The Authors. Environmental Microbiology published by Applied Microbiology International and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2024 04:34
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3107 Microbiology > 310704 Microbial genetics @ 30%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3104 Evolutionary biology > 310410 Phylogeny and comparative analysis @ 35%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3104 Evolutionary biology > 310405 Evolutionary ecology @ 35%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences @ 100%
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