APS Homepage

TECHNICAL SESSION: Population diversity of plant pathogenic bacteria

Understanding Microbial Communities: Single-Gene Phylogenies And Their Resolution
Max Aleman - The Pennsylvania State University. Kevin Hockett- The Pennsylvania State University, Carolee Bull- The Pennsylvania State University

A significant problem for the future of microbial ecology and plant pathology is the disentanglement and identification of species and sub-specious members within microbial communities. Current technologies can be cumbersome; they rely on assumptions about the community (short-read sequencing and library preparations), can be technologically challenging (MLSA approaches), or do not provide enough resolution between closely related species and sub-specious (16S rRNA sequencing). A possible solution is to identify single-genes that provide species and sub-species level phylogenetic resolution. The phylogenies of Pseudomonas spp., are well established and characterized to sub-specious level, providing a suitable starting point to generate a protocol that can be applied to other genera. Previous research has shown that using a single gene can get sub-species and phylogroup resolution in Pseudomonas syringae. Two genes were selected, rpoB and atpD, from already published MLSA phylogenies; when tested on three-species, seven-species, and fifteen-species synthetic communities the genes effectively identified the community composition. Single-gene RAXML phylogenies were created and congruence was estimated against already published MLSA-phylogenies. These results indicate that single-gene phylogenies may provide a framework to observe complex communities without relying on library preparation methods or attempting to pair multiple genes to the same species.