Biosynthetic potential of the sediment microbial subcommunities of an unexplored karst ecosystem and its ecological implications


Microbiologyopen. 2024 Apr;13(2):e1407. doi: 10.1002/mbo3.1407.


Microbial communities from various environments have been studied in the quest for new natural products with a broad range of applications in medicine and biotechnology. We employed an enrichment method and genome mining tools to examine the biosynthetic potential of microbial communities in the sediments of a coastal sinkhole within the karst ecosystem of the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico. Our investigation led to the detection of 203 biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) and 55 secondary metabolites (SMs) within 35 high-quality metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) derived from these subcommunities. The most abundant types of BGCs were Terpene, Nonribosomal peptide-synthetase, and Type III polyketide synthase. Some of the in silico identified BGCs and SMs have been previously reported to exhibit biological activities against pathogenic bacteria and fungi. Others could play significant roles in the sinkhole ecosystem, such as iron solubilization and osmotic stress protection. Interestingly, 75% of the BGCs showed no sequence homology with bacterial BGCs previously reported in the MiBIG database. This suggests that the microbial communities in this environment could be an untapped source of genes encoding novel specialized compounds. The majority of the BGCs were identified in pathways found in the genus Virgibacillus, followed by Sporosarcina, Siminovitchia, Rhodococcus, and Halomonas. The latter, along with Paraclostridium and Lysinibacillus, had the highest number of identified BGC types. This study offers fresh insights into the potential ecological role of SMs from sediment microbial communities in an unexplored environment, underscoring their value as a source of novel natural products.

PMID:38593340 | DOI:10.1002/mbo3.1407