Biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) in microbial genomes encode bioactive secondary metabolites (SMs), which can play important roles in microbe-microbe and host-microbe interactions. Given the biological significance of SMs and the current profound interest in the metabolic functions of microbiomes, the unbiased identification of BGCs from high-throughput metagenomic data could offer novel insights into the complex chemical ecology of microbial communities. Currently available tools for predicting BGCs from shotgun metagenomes have several limitations, including the need for computationally demanding read assembly, predicting a narrow breadth of BGC classes, and not providing the SM product. To overcome these limitations, we developed taxonomyguided identification of biosynthetic gene clusters (TaxiBGC), a command-line tool for predicting experimentally characterized BGCs (and inferring their known SMs) in metagenomes by first pinpointing the microbial species likely to harbor them. We benchmarked TaxiBGC on various simulated metagenomes, showing that our taxonomy-guided approach could predict BGCs with much-improved performance (mean F1 score, 0.56; mean PPV score, 0.80) compared with directly identifying BGCs by mapping sequencing reads onto the BGC genes (mean F1 score, 0.49; mean PPV score, 0.41). Next, by applying TaxiBGC on 2,650 metagenomes from the Human Microbiome Project and various case-control gut microbiome studies, we were able to associate BGCs (and their SMs) with different human body sites and with multiple diseases, including Crohn’s disease and liver cirrhosis. In all, TaxiBGC provides an in silico platform to predict experimentally characterized BGCs and their SM production potential in metagenomic data while demonstrating important advantages over existing techniques.
|Original language||English (US)|
|State||Published - Dec 2022|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported in part by the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine (J.S.) and Mark E. and Mary A. Davis to Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine (J.M.D. and J.S.). The funders had no role in the study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Copyright © 2022 Gupta et al.
- biosynthetic gene cluster
- natural product
- secondary metabolite