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Metagenomic and functional analysis of hindgut microbiota of a wood-feeding higher termite

Warnecke, Falk and Ottesen, Elizabeth A. and Leadbetter, Jared R. (2007) Metagenomic and functional analysis of hindgut microbiota of a wood-feeding higher termite. Nature, 450 (7169). pp. 560-565. ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/nature06269. https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20130308-142241000

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Abstract

From the standpoints of both basic research and biotechnology, there is considerable interest in reaching a clearer understanding of the diversity of biological mechanisms employed during lignocellulose degradation. Globally, termites are an extremely successful group of wood-degrading organisms and are therefore important both for their roles in carbon turnover in the environment and as potential sources of biochemical catalysts for efforts aimed at converting wood into biofuels. Only recently have data supported any direct role for the symbiotic bacteria in the gut of the termite in cellulose and xylan hydrolysis. Here we use a metagenomic analysis of the bacterial community resident in the hindgut paunch of a wood-feeding ‘higher’ Nasutitermes species (which do not contain cellulose-fermenting protozoa) to show the presence of a large, diverse set of bacterial genes for cellulose and xylan hydrolysis. Many of these genes were expressed in vivo or had cellulase activity in vitro, and further analyses implicate spirochete and fibrobacter species in gut lignocellulose degradation. New insights into other important symbiotic functions including H_2 metabolism, CO_2-reductive acetogenesis and N_2 fixation are also provided by this first system-wide gene analysis of a microbial community specialized towards plant lignocellulose degradation. Our results underscore how complex even a 1-μl environment can be.


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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature06269 DOIArticle
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ORCID:
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Leadbetter, Jared R.0000-0002-7033-0844
Additional Information:© 2007 Nature Publishing Group. Received 15 July 2007; Accepted 18 September 2007. We thank production and sequencing teams at Verenium and the Joint Genome Institute for their expertise, J. Mata for morphological identifications, L. Christoffersen for logistic and permitting support, and our laboratory colleagues for their comments during manuscript preparation. This research was supported in part by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, Caltech, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The sequencing for the project was provided through the US Department of Energy (DOE) Community Sequencing Program (http://www.jgi.doe.gov/CSP/ index.html). This work was performed, in part, under the auspices of the DOE Office of Science, Biological and Environmental Research Program, University of California, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Los Alamos National Laboratory. Author Contributions: F.W., P.H., E.J.M., D.E.R., E.M.R. and J.R.L. performed project planning, coordination, execution and facilitation. M.H., C.M., L.G.A. and G.T. undertook field research planning, permits, logistics and station management. F.W., M.C., M.H., C.M., L.G.A. and J.R.L. conducted field collection and sample preparation. M.C., G.D., N.A., J.M. and C.C. performed nucleic acid purification and library construction. D.P. and K.B. carried out assemblies. A.S. conducted gene prediction and annotation. E.S. undertook data processing and loading into IMG/ M. N.I. and N.C.K. performed metabolic reconstruction. A.C.M. and I.R. carried out binning. N.M. conducted fosmid annotation and manual curation. M.G., J.T.S. and B.D.G. performed proteomics and enzyme activities. F.W., P.L., V.K., D.D., E.K., E.G.M., E.A.O. and X.Z. carried out phylogenetic analyses. H.G.M. made accumulation curves, diversity estimates, statistical test for gene-centric analysis. P.L., T.H.R. and J.R.L. performed glycoside hydrolase bioinformatics. R.S. and S.G.T. constructed hypothetical gene families. N.I. and P.H. were responsible for hydrogenases. E.G.M., E.A.O., X.Z. and J.R.L. performed C1-pathway and N-metabolic reconstruction. M.P. carried out sensory transduction protein analysis. F.W., P.L., M.G., T.H.R., J.T.S., P.H., N.I., R.S., S.G.T., M.P. and J.R.L. undertook manuscript preparation.
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Issue or Number:7169
DOI:10.1038/nature06269
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130308-142241000
Persistent URL:https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20130308-142241000
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:37425
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:20 Mar 2013 16:35
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:28

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