Long-read metagenomics using PromethION uncovers novel oral bacteriophages, their abundance, and interaction with host bacteria

Koji Yahara, Masato Suzuki, Aki Hirabayashi, Yutaka Suzuki, Yusuke Okazaki

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Received Date: 15th March 20

Bacteriophages (phages), or bacterial viruses, are very diverse and highly abundant worldwide, including human microbiomes. Although a few metagenomic studies have focused on oral phages, they relied on short-read sequencing. Here, we conducted a long-read metagenomic study of human saliva for the first time using PromethION that requires a smaller amount of DNA than PacBio. Our analyses, which integrated both PromethION and HiSeq data of >30 Gb per sample, revealed N50 ranging from 187-345 kb and thousands of contigs with >1 kb accounting for > 99% of all contigs on which 94-96% of HiSeq reads were mapped. We identified hundreds of viral contigs (95 phages and 333 prophages on an average per sample); 0-43.8% and 12.5-56.3% of the “most confident” phages and prophages, respectively, didn’t cluster with those reported previously and were identified as novel. Our integrated analyses identified highly abundant oral phages/prophages, including a novel Streptococcus phage cluster and nine jumbo phages/prophages. Interestingly, 86% of the phage cluster and 67% of the jumbo phages/prophages contained remote homologs of antimicrobial resistance genes, suggesting their potential role as a source of recombination to generate new resistance genes. Pan-genome analysis of the phages/prophages revealed remarkable diversity, identifying 0.3% and 86.4% of the genes as core and singletons, respectively. Functional annotation revealed that the highest fraction of the core genes was enriched in phage morphogenesis, followed by the fraction enriched in host cellular processes. Furthermore, our study suggested that oral phages present in human saliva are under selective pressure for escaping CRISPR immunity.

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This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on an independent third party site. It has not been peer reviewed but is currently under consideration at Nature Communications.

Nature Communications

Nature Research, Springer Nature