Analysis of bacterial community composition by oligonucleotide fingerprinting of rRNA genes.
ABSTRACT: One of the first steps in characterizing an ecosystem is to describe the organisms inhabiting it. For microbial studies, experimental limitations have hindered the ability to depict diverse communities. Here we describe oligonucleotide fingerprinting of rRNA genes (OFRG), a method that permits identification of arrayed rRNA genes (rDNA) through a series of hybridization experiments using small DNA probes. To demonstrate this strategy, we examined the bacteria inhabiting two different soils. Analysis of 1,536 rDNA clones revealed 766 clusters grouped into five major taxa: Bacillus, Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria, and two undefined assemblages. Soil-specific taxa were identified and then independently confirmed through cluster-specific PCR of the original soil DNA. Near-species-level resolution was obtained by this analysis as clones with average sequence identities of 97% were grouped in the same cluster. A comparison of these OFRG results with the results obtained in a denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analysis of the same two soils demonstrated the significance of this methodological advance. OFRG provides a cost-effective means to extensively analyze microbial communities and should have applications in medicine, biotechnology, and ecosystem studies.
Project description:Thorough assessments of fungal diversity are currently hindered by technological limitations. Here we describe a new method for identifying fungi, oligonucleotide fingerprinting of rRNA genes (OFRG). ORFG sorts arrayed rRNA gene (ribosomal DNA [rDNA]) clones into taxonomic clusters through a series of hybridization experiments, each using a single oligonucleotide probe. A simulated annealing algorithm was used to design an OFRG probe set for fungal rDNA. Analysis of 1,536 fungal rDNA clones derived from soil generated 455 clusters. A pairwise sequence analysis showed that clones with average sequence identities of 99.2% were grouped into the same cluster. To examine the accuracy of the taxonomic identities produced by this OFRG experiment, we determined the nucleotide sequences for 117 clones distributed throughout the tree. For all but two of these clones, the taxonomic identities generated by this OFRG experiment were consistent with those generated by a nucleotide sequence analysis. Eighty-eight percent of the clones were affiliated with Ascomycota, while 12% belonged to BASIDIOMYCOTA: A large fraction of the clones were affiliated with the genera Fusarium (404 clones) and Raciborskiomyces (176 clones). Smaller assemblages of clones had high sequence identities to the Alternaria, Ascobolus, Chaetomium, Cryptococcus, and Rhizoctonia clades.
Project description:Changes in soil microbial community structure and diversity may reflect environmental impact. We examined 16S rRNA gene fingerprints of bacterial communities in six agroecosystems by PCR amplification and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) separation. These soils were treated with manure for over a century or different fertilizers for over 70 years. Bacterial community structure and diversity were affected by soil management practices, as evidenced by changes in the PCR-DGGE banding patterns. Bacterial community structure in the manure-treated soil was more closely related to the structure in the untreated soil than that in soils treated with inorganic fertilizers. Lime treatment had little effect on bacterial community structure. Soils treated with P and N-P had bacterial community structures more closely related to each other than to those of soils given other treatments. Among the soils tested, a significantly higher number of bacterial ribotypes and a more even distribution of the bacterial community existed in the manure-treated soil. Of the 99 clones obtained from the soil treated with manure for over a century, two (both Pseudomonas spp.) exhibited 100% similarity to sequences in the GenBank database. Two of the clones were possible chimeras. Based on similarity matching, the remaining 97 clones formed six major clusters. Fifty-six out of 97 were assigned taxonomic units which grouped into five major taxa: alpha-, beta-, and gamma-Proteobacteria (36 clones), Acidobacteria (16 clones), Bacteroidetes (2 clones), Nitrospirae (1 clone), and Firmicutes (1 clone). Forty-one clones remained unclassified. Results from this study suggested that bacterial community structure was closely related to agroecosystem management practices conducted for over 70 years.
Project description:The goal of this study was to identify bacteria involved in soil suppressiveness against the plant-parasitic nematode Heterodera schachtii. Since H. schachtii cysts isolated from the suppressive soil can transfer this beneficial property to nonsuppressive soils, analysis of the cyst-associated microorganisms should lead to the identification of the causal organisms. Our experimental approach was to identify bacterial rRNA genes (rDNA) associated with H. schachtii cysts obtained from soil mixtures with various levels of suppressiveness. We hypothesized that we would be able to identify bacteria involved in the suppressiveness by correlating population shifts with differing levels of suppressiveness. Soil treatments containing different amounts of suppressive and fumigation-induced nonsuppressive soils exhibited various levels of suppressiveness after two nematode generations. The 10%-suppressive-soil treatment contained numbers of eggs per gram of soil similar to those of the 100%-suppressive-soil treatment, indicating that the suppressive factor(s) had been transferred. Bacterial rDNA associated with H. schachtii cysts were identified using a culture-independent method termed oligonucleotide fingerprinting of rRNA genes. Bacteria from five major taxonomic groups (Actinobacteria, Cytophaga-Flexibacter-Bacteroides, alpha-Proteobacteria, beta-Proteobacteria, and gamma-Proteobacteria) were identified. Three bacterial rDNA groups contained clones that were more prevalent in the highly suppressive soil treatments than in the less suppressive treatments, indicating a potential involvement in the H. schachtii suppressiveness. When these three groups were examined with specific PCR analyses performed on H. schachtii cysts that developed in soils treated with three biocidal compounds, only one bacterial rDNA group with moderate to high sequence identity to rDNA from several Rhizobium species and uncultured alpha-proteobacterial clones was consistently associated with the highly suppressive treatments. A quantitative PCR analysis confirmed the association of this Rhizobium-like rDNA group with the H. schachtii suppressiveness.
Project description:Microbial community diversity and heterogeneity in saturated and unsaturated subsurface soils from Abbott's Pit in Virginia (1.57, 3.25, and 4.05 m below surface) and Dover Air Force Base in Delaware (6.00 and 7.50 m below surface) were analyzed using a culture-independent small-subunit (SSU) rRNA gene (rDNA)-based cloning approach. Four to six dominant operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were identified in 33 to 100 unique SSU rDNA clones (constituting about 40 to 50% of the total number of SSU rDNA clones in the clone library) from the saturated subsurface samples, whereas no dominant OTUs were observed in the unsaturated subsurface sample. Less than 10% of the clones among samples from different depths at the same location were identical, and the proportion of overlapping OTUs was lower for the samples that were vertically far apart than for adjacent samples. In addition, no OTUs were shared between the Abbott's Pit and Dover samples. The majority of the clones (80%) had sequences that were less than 5% different from those in the current databases. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that most of the bacterial clones were affiliated with members of the Proteobacteria family (90%), gram-positive bacteria (3%), and members of the Acidobacteria family (3%). Principal component analysis revealed that samples from different geographic locations were well separated and that samples from the same location were closely grouped together. In addition, the nonsaturated subsurface samples from Abbott's Pit clustered together and were well separated from the saturated subsurface soil sample. Finally, the overall diversity of the subsurface samples was much lower than that of the corresponding surface soil samples.
Project description:The diversity and composition of soil bacterial communities were compared among six Austrian natural forests, including oak-hornbeam, spruce-fir-beech, and Austrian pine forests, using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP, or TRF) analysis and sequence analysis of 16S rRNA genes. The forests studied differ greatly in soil chemical characteristics, microbial biomass, and nutrient turnover rates. The aim of this study was to relate these differences to the composition of the bacterial communities inhabiting the individual forest soils. Both TRF profiling and clone sequence analysis revealed that the bacterial communities in soils under Austrian pine forests, representing azonal forest types, were distinct from those in soils under zonal oak-hornbeam and spruce-fir-beech forests, which were more similar in community composition. Clones derived from an Austrian pine forest soil were mostly affiliated with high-G+C gram-positive bacteria (49%), followed by members of the alpha-Proteobacteria (20%) and the Holophaga/Acidobacterium group (12%). Clones in libraries from oak-hornbeam and spruce-fir-beech forest soils were mainly related to the Holophaga/Acidobacterium group (28 and 35%), followed by members of the Verrucomicrobia (24%) and the alpha-Proteobacteria (27%), respectively. The soil bacterial communities in forests with distinct vegetational and soil chemical properties appeared to be well differentiated based on 16S rRNA gene phylogeny. In particular, the outstanding position of the Austrian pine forests, which are determined by specific soil conditions, was reflected in the bacterial community composition.
Project description:Conventional agricultural production systems, typified by large inputs of mineral fertilizers and pesticides, reduce soil biodiversity and may negatively affect ecosystem services such as carbon fixation, nutrient cycling and disease suppressiveness. Organic soil management is thought to contribute to a more diverse and stable soil food web, but data detailing this effect are sparse and fragmented. We set out to map both the resident (rDNA) and the active (rRNA) fractions of bacterial, fungal, protozoan and metazoan communities under various soil management regimes in two distinct soil types with barley as the main crop. Contrasts between resident and active communities explained 22%, 14%, 21% and 25% of the variance within the bacterial, fungal, protozoan, and metazoan communities. As the active fractions of organismal groups define the actual ecological functioning of soils, our findings underline the relevance of characterizing both resident and active pools. All four major organismal groups were affected by soil management (p < 0.01), and most taxa showed both an increased presence and an enlarged activity under the organic regime. Hence, a prolonged organic soil management not only impacts the primary decomposers, bacteria and fungi, but also major representatives of the next trophic level, protists and metazoa.
Project description:Enteric microbiota play a variety of roles in intestinal health and disease. While bacteria in the intestine have been broadly characterized, little is known about the abundance or diversity of enteric fungi. This study utilized a culture-independent method termed oligonucleotide fingerprinting of rRNA genes (OFRG) to describe the compositions of fungal and bacterial rRNA genes from small and large intestines (tissue and luminal contents) of restricted-flora and specific-pathogen-free mice. OFRG analysis identified rRNA genes from all four major fungal phyla: Ascomycota, Basidiomycota, Chytridiomycota, and Zygomycota. The largest assemblages of fungal rRNA sequences were related to the genera Acremonium, Monilinia, Fusarium, Cryptococcus/Filobasidium, Scleroderma, Catenomyces, Spizellomyces, Neocallimastix, Powellomyces, Entophlyctis, Mortierella, and Smittium and the order Mucorales. The majority of bacterial rRNA gene clones were affiliated with the taxa Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, Acinetobacter, and Lactobacillus. Sequence-selective PCR analyses also detected several of these bacterial and fungal rRNA genes in the mouse chow. Fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis with a fungal small-subunit rRNA probe revealed morphologically diverse microorganisms resident in the mucus biofilm adjacent to the cecal and proximal colonic epithelium. Hybridizing organisms comprised about 2% of the DAPI (4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole, dihydrochloride)-positive organisms in the mucus biofilm, but their abundance in fecal material may be much lower. These data indicate that diverse fungal taxa are present in the intestinal microbial community. Their abundance suggests that they may play significant roles in enteric microbial functions.
Project description:Microbial ecologists have discovered novel rRNA genes (rDNA) in mesophilic soil habitats worldwide, including sequences that affiliate phylogenetically within the division Crenarchaeota (domain Archaea). To characterize the spatial distribution of crenarchaeal assemblages in mesophilic soil habitats, we profiled amplified crenarchaeal 16S rDNA sequences from diverse soil ecosystems by using PCR-single-stranded-conformation polymorphism (PCR-SSCP) analysis. PCR-SSCP profiles provide a measure of relative microbial diversity in terms of richness (number of different phylotypes as estimated from the number of unique PCR-SSCP peaks) and evenness (abundance of each phylotype as estimated from the relative area under a peak). Crenarchaeal assemblages inhabiting prairie, forest, turf, and agricultural soils were characterized at six sampling locations in southern and central Wisconsin. Phylotype richness was found to be more stable than evenness among triplicate samples collected within 30 cm at each sampling location. Transformation of the PCR-SSCP data by principal-component analysis, followed by statistical testing (analysis of variance [P < 0.0001] and least-significant-difference analysis [alpha = 0.5]), supported the conclusion that each location exhibited a unique profile. To further characterize the spatial distribution of crenarchaeal assemblages at one location, additional soil samples (a total of 30) were collected from agricultural field plots at the Hancock Agricultural Research Station. PCR-SSCP revealed a patchy spatial distribution of crenarchaeal assemblages within and between these plots. This mosaic of crenarchaeal assemblages was characterized by differences in phylotype evenness that could not be correlated with horizontal distance (15 to 30 m) or with depth (0 to 20 cm below the surface). Crenarchaeal 16S rDNA clone libraries were produced and screened for unique SSCP peaks. Clones representing the dominant phylotypes at each location were identified, sequenced, and found to group phylogenetically with sequences in crenarchaeal clade C1b.
Project description:In this study microbial species diversity was assessed across a landscape in Yellowstone National Park, where an abrupt increase in soil temperature had occurred due to recent geothermal activity. Soil temperatures were measured, and samples were taken across a temperature gradient (35 to 65 degrees C at a 15-cm depth) that spanned geothermally disturbed and unimpacted soils; thermally perturbed soils were visually apparent by the occurrence of dead or dying lodgepole pine trees. Changes in soil microbial diversity across the temperature gradient were qualitatively assessed based on 16S rRNA sequence variation as detected by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) using both ribosomal DNA (rDNA) and rRNA as PCR templates and primers specific for the Bacteria or Archaea domain. The impact of the major heating disturbance was apparent in that DGGE profiles from heated soils appeared less complex than those from the unaffected soils. Phylogenetic analysis of a bacterial 16S rDNA PCR clone library from a recently heated soil showed that a majority of the clones belonged to the Acidobacterium (51%) and Planctomyces (18%) divisions. Agar plate counts of soil suspensions cultured on dilute yeast extract and R2A agar media incubated at 25 or 50 degrees C revealed that thermophile populations were two to three orders of magnitude greater in the recently heated soil. A soil microcosm laboratory experiment simulated the geothermal heating event. As determined by both RNA- and DNA-based PCR coupled with DGGE, changes in community structure (marked change in the DGGE profile) of soils incubated at 50 degrees C occurred within 1 week and appeared to stabilize after 3 weeks. The results of our molecular and culture data suggest that thermophiles or thermotolerant species are randomly distributed in this area within Yellowstone National Park and that localized thermal activity selects for them.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Different mulches have variable effects on soil physicochemical characteristics, bacterial and fungal communities and ecosystem functions. However, the information about soil microbial diversity, community structure and ecosystem function in tea plantation under different mulching patterns was limited. In this study, we investigated bacterial and fungal communities of tea plantation soils under polyethylene film and peanut hull mulching using high-throughput 16S rRNA and ITS rDNA gene Illumina sequencing. RESULTS:The results showed that the dominant bacterial phyla were Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Acidobacteria and Chloroflexi, and the dominant fungal phyla were Ascomycota, Mortierellomycota and Basidiomycota in all samples, but different mulching patterns affected the distribution of microbial communities. At the phylum level, the relative abundance of Nitrospirae in peanut hull mulching soils (3.24%) was significantly higher than that in polyethylene film mulching soils (1.21%) in bacterial communities, and the relative abundances of Mortierellomycota and Basidiomycota in peanut hull mulching soils (33.72, 21.93%) was significantly higher than that in polyethylene film mulching soils (14.88, 6.53%) in fungal communities. Peanut hull mulching increased the diversity of fungal communities in 0-20?cm soils and the diversity of bacterial communities in 20-40?cm soils. At the microbial functional level, there was an enrichment of bacterial functional features, including amino acid transport and metabolism and energy production and conversion, and there was an enrichment of fungal functional features, including undefined saprotrophs, plant pathogens and soils aprotrophs. CONCLUSIONS:Unique distributions of bacterial and fungal communities were observed in soils under organic mulching. Thus, we believe that the organic mulching has a positive regulatory effect on the soil bacterial and fungal communities and ecosystem functions, and so, is more suitable for tea plantation.