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A Profile Hidden Markov Model to investigate the distribution and frequency of LanB-encoding lantibiotic modification genes in the human oral and gut microbiome

A Profile Hidden Markov Model to investigate the distribution and frequency of LanB-encoding lantibiotic modification genes in the human oral and gut microbiome

Peerj 5: E3254

ISSN/ISBN: 2167-8359

PMID: 28462050

The human microbiota plays a key role in health and disease, and bacteriocins, which are small, bacterially produced, antimicrobial peptides, are likely to have an important function in the stability and dynamics of this community. Here we examined the density and distribution of the subclass I lantibiotic modification protein, LanB, in human oral and stool microbiome datasets using a specially constructed profile Hidden Markov Model (HMM). The model was validated by correctly identifying known lanB genes in the genomes of known bacteriocin producers more effectively than other methods, while being sensitive enough to differentiate between different subclasses of lantibiotic modification proteins. This approach was compared with two existing methods to screen both genomic and metagenomic datasets obtained from the Human Microbiome Project (HMP). Of the methods evaluated, the new profile HMM identified the greatest number of putative LanB proteins in the stool and oral metagenome data while BlastP identified the fewest. In addition, the model identified more LanB proteins than a pre-existing Pfam lanthionine dehydratase model. Searching the gastrointestinal tract subset of the HMP reference genome database with the new HMM identified seven putative subclass I lantibiotic producers, including two members of the Coprobacillus genus. These findings establish custom profile HMMs as a potentially powerful tool in the search for novel bioactive producers with the power to benefit human health, and reinforce the repertoire of apparent bacteriocin-encoding gene clusters that may have been overlooked by culture-dependent mining efforts to date.

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