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Targeted metagenomics approach to capture the biodiversity of Saccharomyces genus in wild environments

Alsammar, Haya F., Naseeb, Samina, Brancia, Lorenzo B., Gilman, R. Tucker, Wang, Ping, Delneri, Daniela
Environmental microbiology reports 2019 v.11 no.2 pp. 206-214
Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Saccharomyces kudriavzevii, Saccharomyces mikatae, altitude, bark, biodiversity, dominant species, internal transcribed spacers, metagenomics, soil, soil sampling, surveys, trees, yeasts, Alps region, Italy
The species of the genus Saccharomyces are commonly inhabiting tree bark and the surrounding soil, but their abundance have likely been underestimated due to biases in culturing methods. Metagenomic studies have so far been unable to detect Saccharomyces species in wild environments. Here, we sequenced the mycobiome of soils surrounding different trees at various altitudes in the Italian Alps. To survey for yeasts species belonging to Saccharomyces genus rather than other fungal species, we performed a selectivity step involving the isolation of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region that is specific to this yeast group. Reads mapping to Saccharomyces species were detected in all soil samples, including reads for S. mikatae and for S. eubayanus. ITS1 alignment of the S. cerevisiae, S. paradoxus and S. kudriavzevii sequences showed up to three base pair polymorphisms with other known strains, indicating possible new lineages. Basidiomycetous fungi were still the dominant species, compared to the Ascomycota, but the selectivity step allowed for the first time the detection and study of the biodiversity of the Saccharomyces species in their natural environment.