Publications in peer reviewed journals

4 Publications found
  • Connecting structure to function with the recovery of over 1000 high-quality activated sludge metagenome-assembled genomes encoding full-length rRNA genes using long-read sequencing

    Singleton CM, Petriglieri F, Kristensen JM, Kirkegaard RH, Michaelsen TY, Andersen MH, Kondrotaite Z, Karst SM, Dueholm MS, Nielsen PH, Albertsen M.
    2021 - bioRxiv, 2020.05.12.088096


    Microorganisms are critical to water recycling, pollution removal and resource recovery processes in the wastewater industry. While the structure of this complex community is increasingly understood based on 16S rRNA gene studies, this structure cannot currently be linked to functional potential due to the absence of high-quality metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) with full-length rRNA genes for nearly all species. Here, we sequence 23 Danish full-scale wastewater treatment plant metagenomes, producing >1 Tbp of long-read and >0.9 Tbp of short-read data. We recovered 1083 high-quality MAGs, including 57 closed circular genomes. The MAGs accounted for ~30% of the community, and meet the stringent MIMAG high-quality draft requirements including full-length rRNA genes. We show how novel high-quality MAGs in combination with >13 years of amplicon data, Raman microspectroscopy and fluorescence in situ hybridisation can be used to uncover abundant undescribed lineages belonging to important functional groups.

  • High-accuracy long-read amplicon sequences using unique molecular identifiers with Nanopore or PacBio sequencing.

    Karst SM, Ziels RM, Kirkegaard RH, Sørensen EA, McDonald D, Zhu Q, Knight R, Albertsen M
    2021 - Nat Methods, 2: 165-169


    High-throughput amplicon sequencing of large genomic regions remains challenging for short-read technologies. Here, we report a high-throughput amplicon sequencing approach combining unique molecular identifiers (UMIs) with Oxford Nanopore Technologies (ONT) or Pacific Biosciences circular consensus sequencing, yielding high-accuracy single-molecule consensus sequences of large genomic regions. We applied our approach to sequence ribosomal RNA operon amplicons (~4,500 bp) and genomic sequences (>10,000 bp) of reference microbial communities in which we observed a chimera rate <0.02%. To reach a mean UMI consensus error rate <0.01%, a UMI read coverage of 15× (ONT R10.3), 25× (ONT R9.4.1) and 3× (Pacific Biosciences circular consensus sequencing) is needed, which provides a mean error rate of 0.0042%, 0.0041% and 0.0007%, respectively.

  • Unlinked rRNA genes are widespread among bacteria and archaea.

    Brewer TE, Albertsen M, Edwards A, Kirkegaard RH, Rocha EPC, Fierer N
    2020 - ISME J, 2: 597-608


    Ribosomes are essential to cellular life and the genes for their RNA components are the most conserved and transcribed genes in bacteria and archaea. Ribosomal RNA genes are typically organized into a single operon, an arrangement thought to facilitate gene regulation. In reality, some bacteria and archaea do not share this canonical rRNA arrangement-their 16S and 23S rRNA genes are separated across the genome and referred to as "unlinked". This rearrangement has previously been treated as an anomaly or a byproduct of genome degradation in intracellular bacteria. Here, we leverage complete genome and long-read metagenomic data to show that unlinked 16S and 23S rRNA genes are more common than previously thought. Unlinked rRNA genes occur in many phyla, most significantly within Deinococcus-Thermus, Chloroflexi, and Planctomycetes, and occur in differential frequencies across natural environments. We found that up to 41% of rRNA genes in soil were unlinked, in contrast to the human gut, where all sequenced rRNA genes were linked. The frequency of unlinked rRNA genes may reflect meaningful life history traits, as they tend to be associated with a mix of slow-growing free-living species and intracellular species. We speculate that unlinked rRNA genes may confer selective advantages in some environments, though the specific nature of these advantages remains undetermined and worthy of further investigation. More generally, the prevalence of unlinked rRNA genes in poorly-studied taxa serves as a reminder that paradigms derived from model organisms do not necessarily extend to the broader diversity of bacteria and archaea.

  • Complete nitrification by Nitrospira bacteria.

    Daims H, Lebedeva EV, Pjevac P, Han P, Herbold C, Albertsen M, Jehmlich N, Palatinszky M, Vierheilig J, Bulaev A, Kirkegaard RH, von Bergen M, Rattei T, Bendinger B, Nielsen PH, Wagner M
    2015 - Nature, 7583: 504-9


    Nitrification, the oxidation of ammonia via nitrite to nitrate, has always been considered to be a two-step process catalysed by chemolithoautotrophic microorganisms oxidizing either ammonia or nitrite. No known nitrifier carries out both steps, although complete nitrification should be energetically advantageous. This functional separation has puzzled microbiologists for a century. Here we report on the discovery and cultivation of a completely nitrifying bacterium from the genus Nitrospira, a globally distributed group of nitrite oxidizers. The genome of this chemolithoautotrophic organism encodes the pathways both for ammonia and nitrite oxidation, which are concomitantly activated during growth by ammonia oxidation to nitrate. Genes affiliated with the phylogenetically distinct ammonia monooxygenase and hydroxylamine dehydrogenase genes of Nitrospira are present in many environments and were retrieved on Nitrospira-contigs in new metagenomes from engineered systems. These findings fundamentally change our picture of nitrification and point to completely nitrifying Nitrospira as key components of nitrogen-cycling microbial communities.

Book chapters and other publications

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