[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Microbial communities have an important role in natural ecosystems and have an impact on animal and human health. Intuitive graphic and analytical tools that can facilitate the study of these communities are in short supply. This article introduces Microbial Community Analysis GUI, a graphical user interface (GUI) for the R-programming language (R Development Core Team, 2010). With this application, researchers can input aligned and clustered sequence data to create custom abundance tables and perform analyses specific to their needs. This GUI provides a flexible modular platform, expandable to include other statistical tools for microbial community analysis in the future. AVAILABILITY: The mcaGUI package and source are freely available as part of Bionconductor at http://www.bioconductor.org/packages/release/bioc/html/mcaGUI.html
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Elucidating the factors that impinge on the stability of bacterial communities in the vagina may help in predicting the risk of diseases that affect women's health. Here, we describe the temporal dynamics of the composition of vaginal bacterial communities in 32 reproductive-age women over a 16-week period. The analysis revealed the dynamics of five major classes of bacterial communities and showed that some communities change markedly over short time periods, whereas others are relatively stable. Modeling community stability using new quantitative measures indicates that deviation from stability correlates with time in the menstrual cycle, bacterial community composition, and sexual activity. The women studied are healthy; thus, it appears that neither variation in community composition per se nor higher levels of observed diversity (co-dominance) are necessarily indicative of dysbiosis.
Science translational medicine 05/2012; 4(132):132ra52. · 10.76 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent investigations have demonstrated that human milk contains a variety of bacterial genera; however, as of yet very little work has been done to characterize the full diversity of these milk bacterial communities and their relative stability over time. To more thoroughly investigate the human milk microbiome, we utilized microbial identification techniques based on pyrosequencing of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene. Specifically, we characterized the bacterial communities present in milk samples collected from 16 women at three time-points over four weeks. Results indicated that milk bacterial communities were generally complex; several genera represented greater than 5% of the relative community abundance, and the community was often, yet not always, stable over time within an individual. These results support the conclusion that human milk, which is recommended as the optimal nutrition source for almost all healthy infants, contains a collection of bacteria more diverse than previously reported. This finding begs the question as to what role this community plays in colonization of the infant gastrointestinal tract and maintaining mammary health.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(6):e21313. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Over the past 100 years, Arctic temperatures have increased at almost twice the global average rate. One consequence is the acceleration of glacier retreat, exposing new habitats that are colonized by microorganisms whose diversity and function are unknown. Here, we characterized bacterial diversity along two approximately parallel chronosequences in an Arctic glacier forefield that span six time points following glacier retreat. We assessed changes in phylotype richness, evenness and turnover rate through the analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences recovered from 52 samples taken from surface layers along the chronosequences. An average of 4500 sequences was obtained from each sample by 454 pyrosequencing. Using parametric methods, it was estimated that bacterial phylotype richness was high, and that it increased significantly from an average of 4000 (at a threshold of 97% sequence similarity) at locations exposed for 5 years to an average of 7050 phylotypes per 0.5 g of soil at sites that had been exposed for 150 years. Phylotype evenness also increased over time, with an evenness of 0.74 for 150 years since glacier retreat reflecting large proportions of rare phylotypes. The bacterial species turnover rate was especially high between sites exposed for 5 and 19 years. The level of bacterial diversity present in this High Arctic glacier foreland was comparable with that found in temperate and tropical soils, raising the question whether global patterns of bacterial species diversity parallel that of plants and animals, which have been found to form a latitudinal gradient and be lower in polar regions compared with the tropics.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine whether different racial groups shared common types of vaginal microbiota, we characterized the composition and structure of vaginal bacterial communities in asymptomatic and apparently healthy Japanese women in Tokyo, Japan, and compared them with those of White and Black women from North America. The composition of vaginal communities was compared based on community profiles of terminal restriction fragments of 16S rRNA genes and phylogenetic analysis of cloned 16S rRNA gene sequences of the numerically dominant bacterial populations. The types of vaginal communities found in Japanese women were similar to those of Black and White women. As with White and Black women, most vaginal communities were dominated by lactobacilli, and only four species of Lactobacillus (Lactobacillus iners, Lactobacillus crispatus, Lactobacillus jensenii, and Lactobacillus gasseri) were commonly found. Communities dominated by multiple species of lactobacilli were common in Japanese and White women, but rare in Black women. The incidence, in Japanese women, of vaginal communities with several non-Lactobacillus species at moderately high frequencies was intermediate between Black women and White women. The limited number of community types found among women in different ethnic groups suggests that host genetic factors, including the innate and adaptive immune systems, may be more important in determining the species composition of vaginal bacterial communities than are cultural and behavioral differences.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Succession is defined as changes in biological communities over time. It has been extensively studied in plant communities, but little is known about bacterial succession, in particular in environments such as High Arctic glacier forelands. Bacteria carry out key processes in the development of soil, biogeochemical cycling and facilitating plant colonization. In this study we sampled two roughly parallel chronosequences in the foreland of Midre Lovén glacier on Svalbard, Norway and tested whether any of several factors were associated with changes in the structure of bacterial communities, including time after glacier retreat, horizontal variation caused by the distance between chronosequences and vertical variation at two soil depths. The structures of soil bacterial communities at different locations were compared using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphisms of 16S rRNA genes, and the data were analyzed by sequential analysis of log-linear statistical models. Although no significant differences in community structure were detected between the two chronosequences, statistically significant differences between sampling locations in the surface and mineral soils could be demonstrated even though glacier forelands are patchy and dynamic environments. These findings suggest that bacterial succession occurs in High Arctic glacier forelands but may differ in different soil depths.
The ISME Journal 08/2009; 3(11):1258-68. · 8.95 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis is a popular high-throughput fingerprinting technique used to monitor changes in the structure and composition of microbial communities. This approach is widely used because it offers a compromise between the information gained and labor intensity. In this review, we discuss the progress made in T-RFLP analysis of 16S rRNA genes and functional genes over the last 10 years and evaluate the performance of this technique when used in conjunction with different statistical methods. Web-based tools designed to perform virtual polymerase chain reaction and restriction enzyme digests greatly facilitate the choice of primers and restriction enzymes for T-RFLP analysis. Significant improvements have also been made in the statistical analysis of T-RFLP profiles such as the introduction of objective procedures to distinguish between signal and noise, the alignment of T-RFLP peaks between profiles, and the use of multivariate statistical methods to detect changes in the structure and composition of microbial communities due to spatial and temporal variation or treatment effects. The progress made in T-RFLP analysis of 16S rRNA and genes allows researchers to make methodological and statistical choices appropriate for the hypotheses of their studies.
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 09/2008; 80(3):365-80. · 3.69 Impact Factor