• CowPI: A Rumen Microbiome Focussed Version of the PICRUSt Functional Inference Software

      Wilkinson, Toby J.; Huws, Sharon A.; Edwards, Joan E.; Kingston-Smith, Alison H.; Siu-Ting, Karen; Hughes, Martin; Rubino, Francesco; Friedersdorff, Maximillian; Creevey, Christopher J.; Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council; et al. (Frontiers, 2018-05-25)
      Metataxonomic 16S rDNA based studies are a commonplace and useful tool in the research of the microbiome, but they do not provide the full investigative power of metagenomics and metatranscriptomics for revealing the functional potential of microbial communities. However, the use of metagenomic and metatranscriptomic technologies is hindered by high costs and skills barrier necessary to generate and interpret the data. To address this, a tool for Phylogenetic Investigation of Communities by Reconstruction of Unobserved States (PICRUSt) was developed for inferring the functional potential of an observed microbiome profile, based on 16S data. This allows functional inferences to be made from metataxonomic 16S rDNA studies with little extra work or cost, but its accuracy relies on the availability of completely sequenced genomes of representative organisms from the community being investigated. The rumen microbiome is an example of a community traditionally underrepresented in genome and sequence databases, but recent efforts by projects such as the Global Rumen Census and Hungate 1000 have resulted in a wide sampling of 16S rDNA profiles and almost 500 fully sequenced microbial genomes from this environment. Using this information, we have developed “CowPI,” a focused version of the PICRUSt tool provided for use by the wider scientific community in the study of the rumen microbiome. We evaluated the accuracy of CowPI and PICRUSt using two 16S datasets from the rumen microbiome: one generated from rDNA and the other from rRNA where corresponding metagenomic and metatranscriptomic data was also available. We show that the functional profiles predicted by CowPI better match estimates for both the meta-genomic and transcriptomic datasets than PICRUSt, and capture the higher degree of genetic variation and larger pangenomes of rumen organisms. Nonetheless, whilst being closer in terms of predictive power for the rumen microbiome, there were differences when compared to both the metagenomic and metatranscriptome data and so we recommend, where possible, functional inferences from 16S data should not replace metagenomic and metatranscriptomic approaches. The tool can be accessed at http://www.cowpi.org and is provided to the wider scientific community for use in the study of the rumen microbiome.
    • CowPI: A Rumen Microbiome Focussed Version of the PICRUSt Functional Inference Software

      Wilkinson, Toby J.; Huws, Sharon A.; Edwards, Joan E.; Kingston-Smith, Alison H.; Siu-Ting, Karen; Hughes, Martin; Rubino, Francesco; Friedersdorff, Maximillian; Creevey, Christopher J.; Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council; et al. (Frontiers, 2018-05-25)
      Metataxonomic 16S rDNA based studies are a commonplace and useful tool in the research of the microbiome, but they do not provide the full investigative power of metagenomics and metatranscriptomics for revealing the functional potential of microbial communities. However, the use of metagenomic and metatranscriptomic technologies is hindered by high costs and skills barrier necessary to generate and interpret the data. To address this, a tool for Phylogenetic Investigation of Communities by Reconstruction of Unobserved States (PICRUSt) was developed for inferring the functional potential of an observed microbiome profile, based on 16S data. This allows functional inferences to be made from metataxonomic 16S rDNA studies with little extra work or cost, but its accuracy relies on the availability of completely sequenced genomes of representative organisms from the community being investigated. The rumen microbiome is an example of a community traditionally underrepresented in genome and sequence databases, but recent efforts by projects such as the Global Rumen Census and Hungate 1000 have resulted in a wide sampling of 16S rDNA profiles and almost 500 fully sequenced microbial genomes from this environment. Using this information, we have developed “CowPI,” a focused version of the PICRUSt tool provided for use by the wider scientific community in the study of the rumen microbiome. We evaluated the accuracy of CowPI and PICRUSt using two 16S datasets from the rumen microbiome: one generated from rDNA and the other from rRNA where corresponding metagenomic and metatranscriptomic data was also available. We show that the functional profiles predicted by CowPI better match estimates for both the meta-genomic and transcriptomic datasets than PICRUSt, and capture the higher degree of genetic variation and larger pangenomes of rumen organisms. Nonetheless, whilst being closer in terms of predictive power for the rumen microbiome, there were differences when compared to both the metagenomic and metatranscriptome data and so we recommend, where possible, functional inferences from 16S data should not replace metagenomic and metatranscriptomic approaches. The tool can be accessed at http://www.cowpi.org and is provided to the wider scientific community for use in the study of the rumen microbiome.
    • Evidence for genetic variance in resistance to tuberculosis in Great Britain and Irish Holstein-Friesian populations

      Bermingham, Mairead L; Brotherstone, Susan; Berry, Donagh; More, Simon J; Good, Margaret; Cromie, A. R.; White, Ian MS; Higgins, Isabella; Coffey, Mike P.; Downs, Sara H; et al. (Biomed Central, 2011-06-03)
      Background: Here, we jointly summarise scientific evidence for genetic variation in resistance to infection with Mycobacterium bovis, the primary agent of bovine tuberculosis (TB), provided by two recent and separate studies of Holstein-Friesian dairy cow populations in Great Britain (GB) and Ireland. Methods: The studies quantified genetic variation within archived data from field and abattoir surveillance control programmes within each country. These data included results from the single intradermal comparative tuberculin test (SICTT), abattoir inspection for TB lesions and laboratory confirmation of disease status. Threshold animal models were used to estimate variance components for responsiveness to the SICTT and abattoir confirmed M. bovis infection. The link functions between the observed 0/1 scale and the liability scale were the complementary log-log in the GB, and logit link function in the Irish population. Results and discussion: The estimated heritability of susceptibility to TB, as judged by responsiveness to the SICTT, was 0.16 (0.012) and 0.14 (0.025) in the GB and Irish populations, respectively. For abattoir or laboratory confirmation of infection, estimates were 0.18 (0.044) and 0.18 (0.041) from the GB and the Irish populations, respectively. Conclusions: Estimates were all significantly different from zero and indicate that exploitable variation exists among GB and Irish Holstein Friesian dairy cows for resistance to TB. Epidemiological analysis suggests that factors such as variation in exposure or imperfect sensitivity and specificity would have resulted in underestimation of the true values.
    • Gut microbiota as a source of novel antimicrobials

      Garcia-Gutierrez, Enriqueta; Mayer, Melinda J.; Cotter, Paul D.; Narbad, Arjan; Teagasc; Science Foundation Ireland; Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council; 2015066; SFI/12/RC/2273; SFI/11/PI/1137; et al. (Taylor & Francis, 2019-05-22)
      Bacteria, Archaea, Eukarya and viruses coexist in the human gut, and this coexistence is functionally balanced by symbiotic or antagonistic relationships. Antagonism is often characterized by the production of antimicrobials against other organisms occupying the same environmental niche. Indeed, close co-evolution in the gut has led to the development of specialized antimicrobials, which is attracting increased attention as these may serve as novel alternatives to antibiotics and thereby help to address the global problem of antimicrobial resistance. The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is especially suitable for finding novel antimicrobials due to the vast array of microbes that inhabit it, and a considerable number of antimicrobial producers of both wide and narrow spectrum have been described. In this review, we summarize some of the antimicrobial compounds that are produced by bacteria isolated from the gut environment, with a special focus on bacteriocins. We also evaluate the potential therapeutic application of these compounds to maintain homeostasis in the gut and the biocontrol of pathogenic bacteria.