A rapid and efficient strategy to identify and recover biosynthetic gene clusters from soil metagenomes

Timo Negri, Shrikant Mantri, Angel Angelov, Silke Peter, Günther Muth, Alessandra S. Eustáquio, Nadine Ziemert*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Scopus citations


    Abstract: Culture-independent metagenomic approaches offer a promising solution to the discovery of therapeutically relevant compounds such as antibiotics by enabling access to the hidden biosynthetic potential of microorganisms. These strategies, however, often entail laborious, multi-step, and time-consuming procedures to recover the biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) from soil metagenomes for subsequent heterologous expression. Here, we developed an efficient method we called single Nanopore read cluster mining (SNRCM), which enables the fast recovery of complete BGCs from a soil metagenome using long- and short-read sequencing. A metagenomic fosmid library of 83,700 clones was generated and sequenced using Nanopore as well as Illumina technologies. Hybrid assembled contigs of the sequenced fosmid library were subsequently analyzed to identify BGCs encoding secondary metabolites. Using SNRCM, we aligned the identified BGCs directly to Nanopore long-reads and were able to detect complete BGCs on single fosmids. This enabled us to select for and recover BGCs of interest for subsequent heterologous expression attempts. Additionally, the sequencing data of the fosmid library and its corresponding metagenomic DNA enabled us to assemble and recover a large nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) BGC from three different fosmids of our library and to directly amplify and recover a complete lasso peptide BGC from the high-quality metagenomic DNA. Overall, the strategies presented here provide a useful tool for accelerating and facilitating the identification and production of potentially interesting bioactive compounds from soil metagenomes. Key points: • An efficient approach for the recovery of BGCs from soil metagenomes was developed to facilitate natural product discovery. • A fosmid library was constructed from soil metagenomic HMW DNA and sequenced via Illumina and Nanopore. • Nanopore long-reads enabled the direct identification and recovery of complete BGCs on single fosmids.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)3293-3306
    Number of pages14
    JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
    Issue number8
    StatePublished - Apr 2022


    • Fosmid library
    • Metagenomic DNA
    • Nanopore sequencing
    • Natural products
    • Secondary metabolites
    • Single Nanopore read cluster mining (SNRCM)

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biotechnology
    • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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