Diversity and community composition of methanogenic archaea in the rumen of Scottish upland sheep assessed by different methods.
ABSTRACT: Ruminal archaeomes of two mature sheep grazing in the Scottish uplands were analysed by different sequencing and analysis methods in order to compare the apparent archaeal communities. All methods revealed that the majority of methanogens belonged to the Methanobacteriales order containing the Methanobrevibacter, Methanosphaera and Methanobacteria genera. Sanger sequenced 1.3 kb 16S rRNA gene amplicons identified the main species of Methanobrevibacter present to be a SGMT Clade member Mbb. millerae (≥ 91% of OTUs); Methanosphaera comprised the remainder of the OTUs. The primers did not amplify ruminal Thermoplasmatales-related 16S rRNA genes. Illumina sequenced V6-V8 16S rRNA gene amplicons identified similar Methanobrevibacter spp. and Methanosphaera clades and also identified the Thermoplasmatales-related order as 13% of total archaea. Unusually, both methods concluded that Mbb. ruminantium and relatives from the same clade (RO) were almost absent. Sequences mapping to rumen 16S rRNA and mcrA gene references were extracted from Illumina metagenome data. Mapping of the metagenome data to 16S rRNA gene references produced taxonomic identification to Order level including 2-3% Thermoplasmatales, but was unable to discriminate to species level. Mapping of the metagenome data to mcrA gene references resolved 69% to unclassified Methanobacteriales. Only 30% of sequences were assigned to species level clades: of the sequences assigned to Methanobrevibacter, most mapped to SGMT (16%) and RO (10%) clades. The Sanger 16S amplicon and Illumina metagenome mcrA analyses showed similar species richness (Chao1 Index 19-35), while Illumina metagenome and amplicon 16S rRNA analysis gave lower richness estimates (10-18). The values of the Shannon Index were low in all methods, indicating low richness and uneven species distribution. Thus, although much information may be extracted from the other methods, Illumina amplicon sequencing of the V6-V8 16S rRNA gene would be the method of choice for studying rumen archaeal communities.
Project description:Dairy cows experience dramatic changes in host physiology from gestation to lactation period and dietary switch from high-forage prepartum diet to high-concentrate postpartum diet over the transition period (parturition +/- three weeks). Understanding the community structure and activity of the rumen microbiota and its associative patterns over the transition period may provide insight for e.g. improving animal health and production. In the present study, rumen samples from ten primiparous Holstein dairy cows were collected over seven weeks spanning the transition period. Total RNA was extracted from the rumen samples and cDNA thereof was subsequently used for characterizing the metabolically active bacterial (16S rRNA transcript amplicon sequencing) and archaeal (qPCR, T-RFLP and mcrA and 16S rRNA transcript amplicon sequencing) communities. The metabolically active bacterial community was dominated by three phyla, showing significant changes in relative abundance range over the transition period: Firmicutes (from prepartum 57% to postpartum 35%), Bacteroidetes (from prepartum 22% to postpartum 18%) and Proteobacteria (from prepartum 7% to postpartum 32%). For the archaea, qPCR analysis of 16S rRNA transcript number, revealed a significant prepartum to postpartum increase in Methanobacteriales, in accordance with an observed increase (from prepartum 80% to postpartum 89%) in relative abundance of 16S rRNA transcript amplicons allocated to this order. On the other hand, a significant prepartum to postpartum decrease (from 15% to 2%) was observed in relative abundance of Methanomassiliicoccales 16S rRNA transcripts. In contrast to qPCR analysis of the 16S rRNA transcripts, quantification of mcrA transcripts revealed no change in total abundance of metabolically active methanogens over the transition period. According to T-RFLP analysis of the mcrA transcripts, two Methanobacteriales genera, Methanobrevibacter and Methanosphaera (represented by the T-RFs 39 and 267 bp), represented more than 70% of the metabolically active methanogens, showing no significant changes over the transition period; minor T-RFs, likely to represent members of the order Methanomassiliicoccales and with a relative abundance below 5% in total, decreased significantly over the transition period. In accordance with the T-RFLP analysis, the mcrA transcript amplicon sequencing revealed Methanobacteriales to cover 99% of the total reads, dominated by the genera Methanobrevibacter (75%) and Methanosphaera (24%), whereas the Methanomassiliicoccales order covered only 0.2% of the total reads. In conclusion, the present study showed that the structure of the metabolically active bacterial and archaeal rumen communities changed over the transition period, likely in response to the dramatic changes in physiology and nutritional factors like dry matter intake and feed composition. It should be noted however that for the methanogens, the observed community changes were influenced by the analyzed gene (mcrA or 16S rRNA).
Project description:Methanobrevibacter and Methanosphaera species represent some of the most prevalent methanogenic archaea in the gastrointestinal tract of animals and humans and play an important role in this environment. The aim of this study was to identify genomic features that are shared or specific for members of each genus with a special emphasis of the analysis on the assimilation of nitrogen and acetate and the utilization of methanol and ethanol for methanogenesis. Here, draft genome sequences of Methanobrevibacter thaueri strain DSM 11995T, Methanobrevibacter woesei strain DSM 11979T, and Methanosphaera cuniculi strain 4103T are reported and compared to those of 16 other Methanobrevibacter and Methanosphaera genomes, including genomes of the 13 currently available types of strains of the two genera. The comparative genome analyses indicate that among other genes, the absence of molybdopterin cofactor biosynthesis is conserved in Methanosphaera species but reveals also that the three species share a core set of more than 300 genes that distinguishes the genus Methanosphaera from the genus Methanobrevibacter. Multilocus sequence analysis shows that the genus Methanobrevibacter can be subdivided into clades, potentially new genera, which may display characteristic specific metabolic features. These features include not only the potential ability of nitrogen fixation and acetate assimilation in a clade comprised of Methanobrevibacter species from the termite gut and Methanobrevibacter arboriphilus strains but also the potential capability to utilize ethanol and methanol in a clade comprising Methanobrevibacter wolinii strain DSM 11976T, Mbb. sp. AbM4, and Mbb. boviskoreani strain DSM 25824T.
Project description:The Euryarchaeota comprise both methanogenic and nonmethanogenic orders and many lineages of uncultivated archaea with unknown properties. One of these deep-branching lineages, distantly related to the Thermoplasmatales, has been discovered in various environments, including marine habitats, soil, and also the intestinal tracts of termites and mammals. By comparative phylogenetic analysis, we connected this lineage of 16S rRNA genes to a large clade of unknown mcrA gene sequences, a functional marker for methanogenesis, obtained from the same habitats. The identical topologies of 16S rRNA and mcrA gene trees and the perfect congruence of all branches, including several novel groups that we obtained from the guts of termites and cockroaches, strongly suggested that they stem from the same microorganisms. This was further corroborated by two highly enriched cultures of closely related methanogens from the guts of a higher termite (Cubitermes ugandensis) and a millipede (Anadenobolus sp.), which represented one of the arthropod-specific clusters in the respective trees. Numerous other pairs of habitat-specific sequence clusters were obtained from the guts of other termites and cockroaches but were also found in previously published data sets from the intestinal tracts of mammals (e.g., rumen cluster C) and other environments. Together with the recently described Methanomassiliicoccus luminyensis isolated from human feces, which falls into rice cluster III, the results of our study strongly support the idea that the entire clade of "uncultured Thermoplasmatales" in fact represents the seventh order of methanogenic archaea, for which the provisional name "Methanoplasmatales" is proposed.
Project description:Different hypervariable (V) regions of the archaeal 16S rRNA gene (rrs) were compared systematically to establish a preferred V region(s) for use in Archaea-specific PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). The PCR products of the V3 region produced the most informative DGGE profiles and permitted identification of common methanogens from rumen samples from sheep. This study also showed that different methanogens might be detected when different V regions are targeted by PCR-DGGE. Dietary fat appeared to transiently stimulate Methanosphaera stadtmanae but inhibit Methanobrevibacter sp. strain AbM4 in rumen samples.
Project description:Bacteria and Archaea are evolutionarily and biochemically distinct domains found together in many environments. Robust 'universal' PCR primer sets targeting both the bacterial 16S rRNA gene and the type I chaperonin gene have been established. However, 'universal' PCR primers for Archaea are currently limited to the 16S rRNA gene. We investigated the type II chaperonin (known as the thermosome, TF55, CCT or TCP-1) as a potential universal target (UT) for Archaea. Reproducible amplification of thermosome gene sequences from all major phyla tested was achieved through the application of a mixture or 'cocktail' of two forward and two reverse primers. Phylogenies based on the ?750-bp thermosome UT were congruent with 16S rRNA gene phylogenies while exhibiting longer branch lengths, improving resolution of closely related taxa. 'Universal' thermosome primers were applied to profiling the archaeal community of dairy cow rumen and results compared with profiles based on the 16S rRNA gene and methyl co-enzyme M reductase (methanogen-specific) gene. Clone libraries generated from each target gene, as well as a pyrosequencing profile of one thermosome rumen library, revealed that all three targets consistently detected Methanobrevibacter smithii, Methanobrevibacter ruminantium and Methanosphaera stadtmanae as the dominant constituents; however, thermosome gene sequences were more diverse than either of the other targets providing a higher resolution description of the archaeal community. These findings demonstrate that a 'universal' thermosome PCR protocol is a powerful metagenomic tool for detecting and characterizing Archaea and archaeal communities.
Project description:Active microbial communities of deep crystalline bedrock fracture water were investigated from seven different boreholes in Olkiluoto (Western Finland) using bacterial and archaeal 16S rRNA, dsrB, and mcrA gene transcript targeted 454 pyrosequencing. Over a depth range of 296-798?m below ground surface the microbial communities changed according to depth, salinity gradient, and sulphate and methane concentrations. The highest bacterial diversity was observed in the sulphate-methane mixing zone (SMMZ) at 250-350?m depth, whereas archaeal diversity was highest in the lowest boundaries of the SMMZ. Sulphide-oxidizing ?-proteobacteria (Sulfurimonas sp.) dominated in the SMMZ and ?-proteobacteria (Pseudomonas spp.) below the SMMZ. The active archaeal communities consisted mostly of ANME-2D and Thermoplasmatales groups, although Methermicoccaceae, Methanobacteriaceae, and Thermoplasmatales (SAGMEG, TMG) were more common at 415-559?m depth. Typical indicator microorganisms for sulphate-methane transition zones in marine sediments, such as ANME-1 archaea, ?-, ?- and ?-proteobacteria, JS1, Actinomycetes, Planctomycetes, Chloroflexi, and MBGB Crenarchaeota were detected at specific depths. DsrB genes were most numerous and most actively transcribed in the SMMZ while the mcrA gene concentration was highest in the deep methane rich groundwater. Our results demonstrate that active and highly diverse but sparse and stratified microbial communities inhabit the Fennoscandian deep bedrock ecosystems.
Project description:Methane is an undesirable end product of rumen fermentative activity because of associated environmental impacts and reduced host feed efficiency. Our study characterized the rumen microbial methanogenic community in beef cattle divergently selected for phenotypic residual feed intake (RFI) while offered a high-forage (HF) diet followed by a low-forage (LF) diet. Rumen fluid was collected from 14 high-RFI (HRFI) and 14 low-RFI (LRFI) animals at the end of both dietary periods. 16S rRNA gene clone libraries were used, and methanogen-specific tag-encoded pyrosequencing was carried out on the samples. We found that Methanobrevibacter spp. are the dominant methanogens in the rumen, with Methanobrevibacter smithii being the most abundant species. Differences in the abundance of Methanobrevibacter smithii and Methanosphaera stadtmanae genotypes were detected in the rumen of animals offered the LF compared to the HF diet while the abundance of Methanobrevibacter smithii genotypes was different between HRFI and LRFI animals irrespective of diet. Our results demonstrate that while a core group of methanogen operational taxonomic units (OTUs) exist across diet and phenotype, significant differences were observed in the distribution of genotypes within those OTUs. These changes in genotype abundance may contribute to the observed differences in methane emissions between efficient and inefficient animals.
Project description:This work investigated the changes of the rumen microbiome of goats switched from a forage to a concentrate diet with special attention to anaerobic fungi (AF). Female goats were fed an alfalfa hay (AH) diet (0% grain; <i>n</i> = 4) for 20 days and were then abruptly shifted to a high-grain (HG) diet (40% corn grain, 60% AH; <i>n</i> = 4) and treated for another 10 days. Rumen content samples were collected from the cannulated animals at the end of each diet period (day 20 and 30). The microbiome structure was studied using high-throughput sequencing for bacteria, archaea (16S rRNA gene) and fungi (ITS2), accompanied by qPCR for each group. To further elucidate unclassified AF, clone library analyses were performed on the ITS1 spacer region. Rumen pH was significantly lower in HG diet fed goats, but did not induce subacute ruminal acidosis. HG diet altered prokaryotic communities, with a significant increase of Bacteroidetes and a decrease of Firmicutes. On the genus level <i>Prevotella</i> 1 was significantly boosted. <i>Methanobrevibacter</i> and <i>Methanosphaera</i> were the most abundant archaea regardless of the diet and HG induced a significant augmentation of unclassified Thermoplasmatales. For anaerobic fungi, HG triggered a considerable rise in <i>Feramyces</i> observed with both ITS markers, while a decline of <i>Tahromyces</i> was detected by ITS2 and decrease of <i>Joblinomyces</i> by ITS1 only. The uncultured BlackRhino group revealed by ITS1 and further elucidated in one sample by LSU analysis, formed a considerable part of the AF community of goats fed both diets. Results strongly indicate that the rumen ecosystem still acts as a source for novel microorganisms and unexplored microbial interactions and that initial rumen microbiota of the host animal considerably influences the reaction pattern upon diet change.
Project description:Sequencing and analyses of 16S rRNA gene amplicons were performed to estimate the composition of the rumen methanogen community in 252 samples from eight cohorts of sheep and cattle, separated into 16 different sample groups by diet, and to determine which methanogens are most prominent in the rumens of farmed New Zealand ruminants. Methanobacteriales (relative abundance ± standard deviation, 89.6% ± 9.8%) and Methanomassiliicoccales (10.4% ± 9.8%) were the two major orders and contributed 99.98% (±0.1%) to the rumen methanogen communities in the samples. Sequences from Methanobacteriales were almost entirely from only four different species (or clades of very closely related species). Each was detectable in at least 89% of the samples. These four species or clades were the Methanobrevibacter gottschalkii clade and Methanobrevibacter ruminantium clade with a mean abundance of 42.4% (±19.5% standard deviation) and 32.9% (±18.8%), respectively, and Methanosphaera sp. ISO3-F5 (8.2% ± 6.7%) and Methanosphaera sp. group5 (5.6% ± 5.7%). These four species or clades appeared to be primarily represented by only one or, in one case, two dominant sequence types per species or clade when the sequences were grouped into operational taxonomic units (OTUs) at 99% sequence identity. The mean relative abundance of Methanomassiliicoccales in the samples was relatively low but exceeded 40% in some of the treatment groups. Animal feed affected the apparent methanogen community structure of both orders, as evident from differences in relative abundances of the major OTUs in animals under different feeding regimens.
Project description:The methanogenic community in hydrothermally active sediments of Guaymas Basin (Gulf of California, Mexico) was analyzed by PCR amplification, cloning, and sequencing of methyl coenzyme M reductase (mcrA) and 16S rRNA genes. Members of the Methanomicrobiales and Methanosarcinales dominated the mcrA and 16S rRNA clone libraries from the upper 15 cm of the sediments. Within the H2/CO2- and formate-utilizing family Methanomicrobiales, two mcrA and 16S rRNA lineages were closely affiliated with cultured species of the genera Methanoculleus and Methanocorpusculum. The most frequently recovered mcrA PCR amplicons within the Methanomicrobiales did not branch with any cultured genera. Within the nutritionally versatile family Methanosarcinales, one 16S rRNA amplicon and most of the mcrA PCR amplicons were affiliated with the obligately acetate utilizing species Methanosaeta concilii. The mcrA clone libraries also included phylotypes related to the methyl-disproportionating genus Methanococcoides. However, two mcrA and two 16S rRNA lineages within the Methanosarcinales were unrelated to any cultured genus. Overall, the clone libraries indicate a diversified methanogen community that uses H2/CO2, formate, acetate, and methylated substrates. Phylogenetic affiliations of mcrA and 16S rRNA clones with thermophilic and nonthermophilic cultured isolates indicate a mixed mesophilic and thermophilic methanogen community in the surficial Guaymas sediments.