Single-cell genomics reveals hundreds of coexisting subpopulations in wild Prochlorococcus.

TitleSingle-cell genomics reveals hundreds of coexisting subpopulations in wild Prochlorococcus.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsKashtan, N, Roggensack, SE, Rodrigue, S, Thompson, JW, Biller, SJ, Coe, A, Ding, H, Marttinen, P, Malmstrom, RR, Stocker, R, Follows, MJ, Stepanauskas, R, Chisholm, SW
Date Published2014 Apr 25
KeywordsAtlantic Ocean, Biological Evolution, Ecosystem, Genes, Bacterial, Genetic Variation, Genome, Bacterial, Metagenomics, Molecular Sequence Data, Mutation, Phylogeny, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, Prochlorococcus, Seasons, Seawater, Sequence Analysis, DNA, Single-Cell Analysis

Extensive genomic diversity within coexisting members of a microbial species has been revealed through selected cultured isolates and metagenomic assemblies. Yet, the cell-by-cell genomic composition of wild uncultured populations of co-occurring cells is largely unknown. In this work, we applied large-scale single-cell genomics to study populations of the globally abundant marine cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus. We show that they are composed of hundreds of subpopulations with distinct "genomic backbones," each backbone consisting of a different set of core gene alleles linked to a small distinctive set of flexible genes. These subpopulations are estimated to have diverged at least a few million years ago, suggesting ancient, stable niche partitioning. Such a large set of coexisting subpopulations may be a general feature of free-living bacterial species with huge populations in highly mixed habitats.

Alternate JournalScience
PubMed ID24763590