Use of Real-Time qPCR to Quantify Members of the Unculturable Heterotrophic Bacterial Community in a Deep Sea Marine Sponge, Vetulina sp.
Bacteriology, Sponges (invertebrates), Polymerase chain reaction, Bacteria phylogeny
In this report, real-time quantitative PCR (TaqMan® qPCR) of the small subunit (SSU) 16S-like rRNA molecule, a universal phylogenetic marker, was used to quantify the relative abundance of individual bacterial members of a diverse, yet mostly unculturable, microbial community from a marine sponge. Molecular phylogenetic analyses of bacterial communities derived from Caribbean Lithistid sponges have shown a wide diversity of microbes that included at least six major subdivisions; however, very little overlap was observed between the culturable and unculturable microbial communities. Based on sequence data of three culture-independent Lithistid-derived representative bacteria, we designed probe/primer sets for TaqMan® qPCR to quantitatively characterize selected microbial residents in a Lithistid sponge, Vetulina, metagenome. TaqMan® assays included specificity testing, DNA limit of detection analysis, and quantification of specific microbial rRNA sequences such as Nitrospira-like microbes and Actinobacteria up to 172 million copies mer microgram per Lithistid sponge metagenome. By contrast, qPCR amplification with probes designed for common previously cultured sponge-associated bacteria in the genera Rheinheimera and Marinomonas and a representative of the CFB group resulted in only minimal detection of the Rheiheimera in total DNA extracted from the sponge. These data verify that a large portion of the microbial community within Lithistid sponges may consist of currently unculturable microorganisms.
Cassler, M., C. L. Peterson, and A. Ledger. 2008. "Use of Real-Time qPCR to Quantify Members of the Unculturable Heterotrophic Bacterial Community in a Deep Sea Marine Sponge, Vetulina sp." Microbial Ecology 55, no. 3: 384-394.