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Culture-independent metagenomics supports discovery of uncultivable bacteria within the genus Chlamydia


Taylor-Brown, Alyce; Spang, Labolina; Borel, Nicole; Polkinghorne, Adam (2017). Culture-independent metagenomics supports discovery of uncultivable bacteria within the genus Chlamydia. Scientific Reports, 7(1):10661.

Abstract

Advances in culture-independent methods have meant that we can more readily detect and diagnose emerging infectious disease threats in humans and animals. Metagenomics is fast becoming a popular tool for detection and characterisation of novel bacterial pathogens in their environment, and is particularly useful for obligate intracellular bacteria such as Chlamydiae that require labour-intensive culturing. We have used this tool to investigate the microbial metagenomes of Chlamydia-positive cloaca and choana samples from snakes. The microbial complexity within these anatomical sites meant that despite previous detection of chlamydial 16S rRNA sequences by single-gene broad-range PCR, only a chlamydial plasmid could be detected in all samples, and a chlamydial chromosome in one sample. Comparative genomic analysis of the latter revealed it represented a novel taxon, Ca. Chlamydia corallus, with genetic differences in regards to purine and pyrimidine metabolism. Utilising statistical methods to relate plasmid phylogeny to the phylogeny of chromosomal sequences showed that the samples also contain additional novel strains of Ca. C. corallus and two putative novel species in the genus Chlamydia. This study highlights the value of metagenomics methods for rapid novel bacterial discovery and the insights it can provide into the biology of uncultivable intracellular bacteria such as Chlamydiae.
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Abstract

Advances in culture-independent methods have meant that we can more readily detect and diagnose emerging infectious disease threats in humans and animals. Metagenomics is fast becoming a popular tool for detection and characterisation of novel bacterial pathogens in their environment, and is particularly useful for obligate intracellular bacteria such as Chlamydiae that require labour-intensive culturing. We have used this tool to investigate the microbial metagenomes of Chlamydia-positive cloaca and choana samples from snakes. The microbial complexity within these anatomical sites meant that despite previous detection of chlamydial 16S rRNA sequences by single-gene broad-range PCR, only a chlamydial plasmid could be detected in all samples, and a chlamydial chromosome in one sample. Comparative genomic analysis of the latter revealed it represented a novel taxon, Ca. Chlamydia corallus, with genetic differences in regards to purine and pyrimidine metabolism. Utilising statistical methods to relate plasmid phylogeny to the phylogeny of chromosomal sequences showed that the samples also contain additional novel strains of Ca. C. corallus and two putative novel species in the genus Chlamydia. This study highlights the value of metagenomics methods for rapid novel bacterial discovery and the insights it can provide into the biology of uncultivable intracellular bacteria such as Chlamydiae.
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Institute of Veterinary Pathology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
Language:English
Date:6 September 2017
Deposited On:25 Jan 2018 12:58
Last Modified:19 Feb 2018 10:00
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2045-2322
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-10757-5
PubMed ID:28878306

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