Project description:Metabarcoding has become an important tool in the discovery of biodiversity, including fungi, which are the second most speciose group of eukaryotes, with diverse and important ecological roles in terrestrial ecosystems. We have designed and tested new PCR primers that target the D1 variable region of nuclear large subunit (LSU) ribosomal DNA; one set that targets the phylum Ascomycota and another that recovers all other fungal phyla. The primers yield amplicons compatible with the Illumina MiSeq platform, which is cost-effective and has a lower error rate than other high throughput sequencing platforms. The new primer set LSU200A-F/LSU476A-R (Ascomycota) yielded 95-98% of reads of target taxa from environmental samples, and primers LSU200-F/LSU481-R (all other fungi) yielded 72-80% of target reads. Both primer sets have fairly low rates of data loss, and together they cover a wide variety of fungal taxa. We compared our results with these primers by amplifying and sequencing a subset of samples using the previously described ITS3_KYO2/ITS4_KYO3 primers, which amplify the internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) of Ascomycota and Basidiomycota. With approximately equivalent read depth, our LSU primers recovered a greater number and phylogenetic diversity of sequences than the ITS2 primers. For instance, ITS3_KYO2/ITS4_KYO3 primers failed to pick up any members of Eurotiales, Mytilinidiales, Pezizales, Saccharomycetales, or Venturiales within Ascomycota, or members of Exobasidiomycetes, Microbotryomycetes, Pucciniomycetes, or Tremellomycetes within Basidiomycota, which were retrieved in good numbers from the same samples by our LSU primers. Among the OTUs recovered using the LSU primers were 127 genera and 28 species that were not obtained using the ITS2 primers, although the ITS2 primers recovered 10 unique genera and 16 species that were not obtained using either of the LSU primers These features identify the new primer sets developed in this study as useful complements to other universal primers for the study of fungal diversity and community composition.
Project description:The aim of this study was to assess potential candidate gene regions and corresponding universal primer pairs as secondary DNA barcodes for the fungal kingdom, additional to ITS rDNA as primary barcode. Amplification efficiencies of 14 (partially) universal primer pairs targeting eight genetic markers were tested across > 1 500 species (1 931 strains or specimens) and the outcomes of almost twenty thousand (19 577) polymerase chain reactions were evaluated. We tested several well-known primer pairs that amplify: i) sections of the nuclear ribosomal RNA gene large subunit (D1-D2 domains of 26/28S); ii) the complete internal transcribed spacer region (ITS1/2); iii) partial ? -tubulin II (TUB2); iv) ?-actin (ACT); v) translation elongation factor 1-? (TEF1?); and vi) the second largest subunit of RNA-polymerase II (partial RPB2, section 5-6). Their PCR efficiencies were compared with novel candidate primers corresponding to: i) the fungal-specific translation elongation factor 3 (TEF3); ii) a small ribosomal protein necessary for t-RNA docking; iii) the 60S L10 (L1) RP; iv) DNA topoisomerase I (TOPI); v) phosphoglycerate kinase (PGK); vi) hypothetical protein LNS2; and vii) alternative sections of TEF1?. Results showed that several gene sections are accessible to universal primers (or primers universal for phyla) yielding a single PCR-product. Barcode gap and multi-dimensional scaling analyses revealed that some of the tested candidate markers have universal properties providing adequate infra- and inter-specific variation that make them attractive barcodes for species identification. Among these gene sections, a novel high fidelity primer pair for TEF1?, already widely used as a phylogenetic marker in mycology, has potential as a supplementary DNA barcode with superior resolution to ITS. Both TOPI and PGK show promise for the Ascomycota, while TOPI and LNS2 are attractive for the Pucciniomycotina, for which universal primers for ribosomal subunits often fail.
Project description:While high-throughput sequencing methods are revolutionizing fungal ecology, recovering accurate estimates of species richness and abundance has proven elusive. We sought to design internal transcribed spacer (ITS) primers and an Illumina protocol that would maximize coverage of the kingdom Fungi while minimizing nontarget eukaryotes. We inspected alignments of the 5.8S and large subunit (LSU) ribosomal genes and evaluated potential primers using PrimerProspector. We tested the resulting primers using tiered-abundance mock communities and five previously characterized soil samples. We recovered operational taxonomic units (OTUs) belonging to all 8 members in both mock communities, despite DNA abundances spanning 3 orders of magnitude. The expected and observed read counts were strongly correlated (r = 0.94 to 0.97). However, several taxa were consistently over- or underrepresented, likely due to variation in rRNA gene copy numbers. The Illumina data resulted in clustering of soil samples identical to that obtained with Sanger sequence clone library data using different primers. Furthermore, the two methods produced distance matrices with a Mantel correlation of 0.92. Nonfungal sequences comprised less than 0.5% of the soil data set, with most attributable to vascular plants. Our results suggest that high-throughput methods can produce fairly accurate estimates of fungal abundances in complex communities. Further improvements might be achieved through corrections for rRNA copy number and utilization of standardized mock communities.Fungi play numerous important roles in the environment. Improvements in sequencing methods are providing revolutionary insights into fungal biodiversity, yet accurate estimates of the number of fungal species (i.e., richness) and their relative abundances in an environmental sample (e.g., soil, roots, water, etc.) remain difficult to obtain. We present improved methods for high-throughput Illumina sequencing of the species-diagnostic fungal ribosomal marker gene that improve the accuracy of richness and abundance estimates. The improvements include new PCR primers and library preparation, validation using a known mock community, and bioinformatic parameter tuning.
Project description:Developing powerful phylogenetic markers is a key concern in fungal phylogenetics. Here we report degenerate primers that amplify the single-copy genes Mcm7 (MS456) and Tsr1 (MS277) across a wide range of Pezizomycotina (Ascomycota). Phylogenetic analyses of 59 taxa belonging to the Eurotiomycetes, Lecanoromycetes, Leotiomycetes, Lichinomycetes and Sordariomycetes, indicate the utility of these loci for fungal phylogenetics at taxonomic levels ranging from genus to class. We also tested the new primers in silico using sequences of Saccharomycotina, Taphrinomycotina and Basidiomycota to predict their potential of amplifying widely across the Fungi. The analyses suggest that the new primers will need no, or only minor sequence modifications to amplify Saccharomycotina, Taphrinomycotina and Basidiomycota.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) regions of fungal ribosomal DNA (rDNA) are highly variable sequences of great importance in distinguishing fungal species by PCR analysis. Previously published PCR primers available for amplifying these sequences from environmental samples provide varying degrees of success at discriminating against plant DNA while maintaining a broad range of compatibility. Typically, it has been necessary to use multiple primer sets to accommodate the range of fungi under study, potentially creating artificial distinctions for fungal sequences that amplify with more than one primer set. RESULTS:Numerous sequences for PCR primers were tested to develop PCR assays with a wide range of fungal compatibility and high discrimination from plant DNA. A nested set of 4 primers was developed that reflected these criteria and performed well amplifying ITS regions of fungal rDNA. Primers in the 5.8S sequence were also developed that would permit separate amplifications of ITS1 and ITS2. A range of basidiomycete fruiting bodies and ascomycete cultures were analyzed with the nested set of primers and Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (RFLP) fingerprinting to demonstrate the specificity of the assay. Single ectomycorrhizal root tips were similarly analyzed. These primers have also been successfully applied to Quantitative PCR (QPCR), Length Heterogeneity PCR (LH-PCR) and Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (T-RFLP) analyses of fungi. A set of wide-range plant-specific primers were developed at positions corresponding to one pair of the fungal primers. These were used to verify that the host plant DNA was not being amplified with the fungal primers. CONCLUSION:These plant primers have been successfully applied to PCR-RFLP analyses of forest plant tissues from above- and below-ground samples and work well at distinguishing a selection of plants to the species level. The complete set of primers was developed with an emphasis on discrimination between plant and fungal sequences and should be particularly useful for studies of fungi where samples also contain high levels of background plant DNA, such as verifying ectomycorrhizal morphotypes or characterizing phylosphere communities.
Project description:The kingdom Fungi is estimated to include 1.5 million or more species, playing key roles as decomposers, mutualists, and parasites in every biome on the earth. To comprehensively understand the diversity and ecology of this huge kingdom, DNA barcoding targeting the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of the nuclear ribosomal repeat has been regarded as a prerequisite procedure. By extensively surveying ITS sequences in public databases, we designed new ITS primers with improved coverage across diverse taxonomic groups of fungi compared to existing primers. An in silico analysis based on public sequence databases indicated that the newly designed primers matched 99% of ascomycete and basidiomycete ITS taxa (species, subspecies or varieties), causing little taxonomic bias toward either fungal group. Two of the newly designed primers could inhibit the amplification of plant sequences and would enable the selective investigation of fungal communities in mycorrhizal associations, soil, and other types of environmental samples. Optimal PCR conditions for the primers were explored in an in vitro investigation. The new primers developed in this study will provide a basis for ecological studies on the diversity and community structures of fungi in the era of massive DNA sequencing.
Project description:Two PCR primer pairs were designed to amplify rRNA genes (rDNA) from all four major phyla of fungi: Ascomycota, Basidiomycota, Chytridomycota, and Zygomycota. PCRs performed with these primers showed that both pairs amplify DNA from organisms representing the major taxonomic groups of fungi but not from nonfungal sources. To test the ability of the primers to amplify fungal rDNA from environment samples, clone libraries from two avocado grove soils were constructed and analyzed. These soils possess different abilities to inhibit avocado root rot caused by Phythophthora cinnamomi. Analysis of the two rDNA clone libraries revealed differences in the two fungal communities. It also revealed a markedly different depiction of the soil fungal community than that generated by a culture-based analysis, confirming the value of rDNA-based approaches for identifying organisms that may not readily grow on agar media. Additional evidence of the usefulness of the primers was obtained by identifying fungi associated with avocado leaves. In both the soil and leaf analyses, no nonfungal rDNA sequences were identified, illustrating the selectivity of these PCR primers. This work demonstrates the ability of two newly developed PCR primer sets to amplify fungal rDNA from soil and plant tissue, thereby providing unique tools to examine this vast and mostly undescribed community of organisms.
Project description:The 18S small subunit (SSU) ribosomal DNA sequence is one of the most useful molecular loci for identification and phylogeny reconstruction of agriculturally important nematodes. Various pairs of universal primers have been developed in the past to amplify short and long nematode sequences. However, certain nematode taxa were not readily amplified and/or sequenced with the existing primer tools. Frequently, the center region of a roughly 1,000 nucleotide segment would be lost. Therefore new primers were developed based on a very large 276 taxon alignment of 124 agriculturally important nematode species, and tested on problematic nematode taxa such as Aphelenchoides, Bursaphelenchus, Ditylenchus, and Panagrolaimus. New primers and protocols are provided for successful generation of sequences useful in future investigations of nematode systematics.The 18S small subunit (SSU) ribosomal DNA sequence is one of the most useful molecular loci for identification and phylogeny reconstruction of agriculturally important nematodes. Various pairs of universal primers have been developed in the past to amplify short and long nematode sequences. However, certain nematode taxa were not readily amplified and/or sequenced with the existing primer tools. Frequently, the center region of a roughly 1,000 nucleotide segment would be lost. Therefore new primers were developed based on a very large 276 taxon alignment of 124 agriculturally important nematode species, and tested on problematic nematode taxa such as Aphelenchoides, Bursaphelenchus, Ditylenchus, and Panagrolaimus. New primers and protocols are provided for successful generation of sequences useful in future investigations of nematode systematics.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Metagenetic analyses, which amplify and sequence target marker DNA regions from environmental samples, are increasingly employed to assess the biodiversity of communities of small organisms. Using this approach, our understanding of microbial diversity has expanded greatly. In contrast, only a few studies using this approach to characterize metazoan diversity have been reported, despite the fact that many metazoan species are small and difficult to identify or are undescribed. One of the reasons for this discrepancy is the availability of universal primers for the target taxa. In microbial studies, analysis of the 16S ribosomal DNA is standard. In contrast, the best gene for metazoan metagenetics is less clear. In the present study, we have designed primers that amplify the nuclear 18S and 28S ribosomal DNA sequences of most metazoan species with the goal of providing effective approaches for metagenetic analyses of metazoan diversity in environmental samples, with a particular emphasis on marine biodiversity. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Conserved regions suitable for designing PCR primers were identified using 14,503 and 1,072 metazoan sequences of the nuclear 18S and 28S rDNA regions, respectively. The sequence similarity of both these newly designed and the previously reported primers to the target regions of these primers were compared for each phylum to determine the expected amplification efficacy. The nucleotide diversity of the flanking regions of the primers was also estimated for genera or higher taxonomic groups of 11 phyla to determine the variable regions within the genes. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The identified nuclear ribosomal DNA primers (five primer pairs for 18S and eleven for 28S) and the results of the nucleotide diversity analyses provide options for primer combinations for metazoan metagenetic analyses. Additionally, advantages and disadvantages of not only the 18S and 28S ribosomal DNA, but also other marker regions as targets for metazoan metagenetic analyses, are discussed.
Project description:Fungi are morphologically, ecologically, metabolically, and phylogenetically diverse. They are known to produce numerous bioactive molecules, which makes them very useful for natural products researchers in their pursuit of discovering new chemical diversity with agricultural, industrial, and pharmaceutical applications. Despite their importance in natural products chemistry, identification of fungi remains a daunting task for chemists, especially those who do not work with a trained mycologist. The purpose of this review is to update natural products researchers about the tools available for molecular identification of fungi. In particular, we discuss (1) problems of using morphology alone in the identification of fungi to the species level; (2) the three nuclear ribosomal genes most commonly used in fungal identification and the potential advantages and limitations of the ITS region, which is the official DNA barcoding marker for species-level identification of fungi; (3) how to use NCBI-BLAST search for DNA barcoding, with a cautionary note regarding its limitations; (4) the numerous curated molecular databases containing fungal sequences; (5) the various protein-coding genes used to augment or supplant ITS in species-level identification of certain fungal groups; and (6) methods used in the construction of phylogenetic trees from DNA sequences to facilitate fungal species identification. We recommend that, whenever possible, both morphology and molecular data be used for fungal identification. Our goal is that this review will provide a set of standardized procedures for the molecular identification of fungi that can be utilized by the natural products research community.