Twing Katrina I.

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Twing
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Katrina I.
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Identification and removal of contaminant sequences from ribosomal gene databases : lessons from the Census of Deep Life

2018-04-30 , Sheik, Cody S. , Kiel Reese, Brandi , Twing, Katrina I. , Sylvan, Jason B. , Grim, Sharon L. , Schrenk, Matthew O. , Sogin, Mitchell L. , Colwell, Frederick S.

Earth’s subsurface environment is one of the largest, yet least studied, biomes on Earth, and many questions remain regarding what microorganisms are indigenous to the subsurface. Through the activity of the Census of Deep Life (CoDL) and the Deep Carbon Observatory, an open access 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequence database from diverse subsurface environments has been compiled. However, due to low quantities of biomass in the deep subsurface, the potential for incorporation of contaminants from reagents used during sample collection, processing, and/or sequencing is high. Thus, to understand the ecology of subsurface microorganisms (i.e., the distribution, richness, or survival), it is necessary to minimize, identify, and remove contaminant sequences that will skew the relative abundances of all taxa in the sample. In this meta-analysis, we identify putative contaminants associated with the CoDL dataset, recommend best practices for removing contaminants from samples, and propose a series of best practices for subsurface microbiology sampling. The most abundant putative contaminant genera observed, independent of evenness across samples, were Propionibacterium, Aquabacterium, Ralstonia, and Acinetobacter. While the top five most frequently observed genera were Pseudomonas, Propionibacterium, Acinetobacter, Ralstonia, and Sphingomonas. The majority of the most frequently observed genera (high evenness) were associated with reagent or potential human contamination. Additionally, in DNA extraction blanks, we observed potential archaeal contaminants, including methanogens, which have not been discussed in previous contamination studies. Such contaminants would directly affect the interpretation of subsurface molecular studies, as methanogenesis is an important subsurface biogeochemical process. Utilizing previously identified contaminant genera, we found that ∼27% of the total dataset were identified as contaminant sequences that likely originate from DNA extraction and DNA cleanup methods. Thus, controls must be taken at every step of the collection and processing procedure when working with low biomass environments such as, but not limited to, portions of Earth’s deep subsurface. Taken together, we stress that the CoDL dataset is an incredible resource for the broader research community interested in subsurface life, and steps to remove contamination derived sequences must be taken prior to using this dataset.

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Metabolic strategies shared by basement residents of the lost city hydrothermal field

2022-09-13 , Brazelton, William J. , McGonigle, Julia M. , Motamedi, Shahrzad , Pendleton, H. Lizethe , Twing, Katrina I. , Miller, Briggs C. , Lowe, William J. , Hoffman, Alessandrina M. , Prator, Cecilia A. , Chadwick, Grayson L. , Anderson, Rika E. , Thomas, Elaina , Butterfield, David A. , Aquino, Karmina A. , Fruh-Green, Gretchen L. , Schrenk, Matthew O. , Lang, Susan Q.

Alkaline fluids venting from chimneys of the Lost City hydrothermal field flow from a potentially vast microbial habitat within the seafloor where energy and organic molecules are released by chemical reactions within rocks uplifted from Earth’s mantle. In this study, we investigated hydrothermal fluids venting from Lost City chimneys as windows into subseafloor environments where the products of geochemical reactions, such as molecular hydrogen (H2), formate, and methane, may be the only available sources of energy for biological activity. Our deep sequencing of metagenomes and metatranscriptomes from these hydrothermal fluids revealed a few key species of archaea and bacteria that are likely to play critical roles in the subseafloor microbial ecosystem. We identified a population of Thermodesulfovibrionales (belonging to phylum Nitrospirota) as a prevalent sulfate-reducing bacterium that may be responsible for much of the consumption of H2 and sulfate in Lost City fluids. Metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) classified as Methanosarcinaceae and Candidatus Bipolaricaulota were also recovered from venting fluids and represent potential methanogenic and acetogenic members of the subseafloor ecosystem. These genomes share novel hydrogenases and formate dehydrogenase-like sequences that may be unique to hydrothermal environments where H2 and formate are much more abundant than carbon dioxide. The results of this study include multiple examples of metabolic strategies that appear to be advantageous in hydrothermal and subsurface alkaline environments where energy and carbon are provided by geochemical reactions.