Insights into rumen microbial biosynthetic gene cluster diversity through genome-resolved metagenomics

Christopher L. Anderson, Samodha C. Fernando

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Ruminants are critical to global food security as they transform lignocellulosic biomass into high-quality protein products. The rumen microbes ferment feed to provide necessary energy and nutrients for the ruminant host. However, we still lack insight into the metabolic processes encoded by most rumen microbial populations. In this study, we implemented metagenomic binning approaches to recover 2,809 microbial genomes from cattle, sheep, moose, deer, and bison. By clustering genomes based on average nucleotide identity, we demonstrate approximately one-third of the metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) to represent species not present in current reference databases and rumen microbial genome collections. Combining these MAGs with other rumen genomic datasets permitted a phylogenomic characterization of the biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) from 8,160 rumen microbial genomes, including the identification of 195 lanthipeptides and 5,346 diverse gene clusters for nonribosomal peptide biosynthesis. A subset of Prevotella and Selenomonas BGCs had higher expression in steers with lower feed efficiency. Moreover, the microdiversity of BGCs was fairly constant across types of BGCs and cattle breeds. The reconstructed genomes expand the genomic representation of rumen microbial lineages, improve the annotation of multi-omics data, and link microbial populations to the production of secondary metabolites that may constitute a source of natural products for manipulating rumen fermentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number818
JournalCommunications biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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