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Thureborn P, Hu YOO, Franzetti A, Sjöling S, Lundin D.2017. Accumulation of DNA in an anoxic sediment – rDNA and rRNA presence of members of the microbial community from Landsort Deep, the Baltic Sea. PeerJ Preprints5:e2051v2https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.2051v2
Numerous investigations of bacterial communities using sequence analysis of environmental DNA have revealed extensive diversity of microbial taxa in an array of different environmental habitats. Community analysis based solely on DNA, however, does not reveal whether the detected community members are actively contributing to community functioning, or whether they are dormant or remnants of dead cells. This dilemma is of particular concern when analyzing microbial community structure of sites with a high degree of deposited matter, such as marine sediments. For example, the Baltic Sea’s deepest point, the Landsort Deep, consists of anoxic sediments with a large deposition of allochthonous organic matter from the highly stratified 460 m water column above. Our previous metagenomics results indicated the presence of potential obligately aerobic and phototrophic microorganisms in the Landsort Deep sediment. To further elucidate which taxa may contribute to ecosystem function at this site, we here present three different datasets – rDNA amplicons, rDNA reads from a shotgun metagenome and expressed rRNA from a shotgun metatranscriptome. By comparing the three datasets and the ratios between rRNA and rDNA we seek to estimate the protein synthesis potential of the community members in order to provide an indication of what taxa may have cellular activity and metabolic potential. The variation in protein synthesis potential was large, both within and between taxa, in the sediment community. Many typically anaerobic taxa, e.g. from Deltaproteobacteria and Euryarchaeota, showed a high protein synthesis potential, while typical aerobes like Flavobacteria showed a low protein synthesis potential. More surprisingly, some common Baltic Sea surface water bacteria also displayed a high protein synthesis potential, suggesting they have an active role in the anoxic sediment ecosystem at 460 m depth. Both filamentous and unicellular Cyanobacteria exhibited very high protein synthesis potential, which implies a more complex role of these bacteria in carbon cycling in the Baltic Sea than previously suggested. Moreover, Mycobacteria, that were abundant in Landsort Deep sediment metagenome compared with other marine sediment metagenomes, showed protein synthesis potentials consistent with a functional role in the sediment community. Our results provide a new window of insight into the complexities of the microbial community of Landsort Deep with implications for the understanding of other anoxic accumulation sediments.
Small but important changes compared with the first version:
1. Calculation of ratios significantly greater than community median corrected for multiple comparisons. After this only one above (Cyanobacteria) and one below (Bacteroidetes) the community median remain.
2. Removed analysis of correlation between rDNA abundance and totalRNA to rDNA ratio. (Trivially true.)
3. Materials and methods improved (Bioinformatics subsection).
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