Herbivores rely on digestive tract lignocellulolytic microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi and protozoa, to derive energy and carbon from plant cell wall polysaccharides. Culture independent metagenomic studies have been used to reveal the genetic content of the bacterial species within gut microbiomes. However, the nature of the genes encoded by eukaryotic protozoa and fungi within these environments has not been explored using metagenomic or metatranscriptomic approaches.
In this study, a metatranscriptomic approach was used to investigate the functional diversity of the eukaryotic microorganisms within the rumen of muskoxen (
The muskoxen rumen metatranscriptome demonstrates a much higher percentage of cellulase enzyme discovery and an 8.7x higher rate of total carbohydrate active enzyme discovery per gigabase of sequence than previous rumen metagenomes. This study provides a snapshot of eukaryotic gene expression in the muskoxen rumen, and identifies a number of candidate genes coding for potentially valuable lignocellulolytic enzymes.
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Date Published: 31-May-2011
Author(s): Qi M., Wang P., O’Toole N., Barboza P., Ungerfeld E., Leigh M., Selinger L., Butler G., Tsang A., McAllister T., Forster R.