Genomic diversity and biosynthetic capabilities of sponge-associated chlamydiae

Dharamshi et al. (2022). The ISME Journal 16 (12)
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Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics Microbiology
AbstractSponge microbiomes contribute to host health, nutrition, and defense through the production of secondary metabolites.Chlamydiae, a phylum of obligate intracellular bacteria ranging from animal pathogens to endosymbionts of microbial eukaryotes, are frequently found associated with sponges. However, sponge-associated chlamydial diversity has not yet been investigated at the genomic level and host interactions thus far remain unexplored. Here, we sequenced the microbiomes of three sponge species and found high, though variable,Chlamydiaerelative abundances of up to 18.7% of bacteria. Using genome-resolved metagenomics 18 high-quality sponge-associated chlamydial genomes were reconstructed, covering four chlamydial families. Among these,CandidatusSororchlamydiaceae shares a common ancestor withChlamydiaceaeanimal pathogens, suggesting long-term co-evolution with animals. Based on gene content, sponge-associated chlamydiae resemble members from the same family more than sponge-associated chlamydiae of other families, and have greater metabolic versatility than known chlamydial animal pathogens. Sponge-associated chlamydiae are also enriched in genes for degrading diverse compounds found in sponges. Unexpectedly, we identified widespread genetic potential for secondary metabolite biosynthesis acrossChlamydiae, which may represent an unexplored source of novel natural products. This finding suggests that Chlamydiaemembers may partake in defensive symbioses and that secondary metabolites play a wider role in mediating intracellular interactions. Furthermore, sponge-associated chlamydiae relatives were found in other marine invertebrates, pointing towards wider impacts of theChlamydiaephylum on marine ecosystems.
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