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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2013 Mar;79(5):1598-605. doi: 10.1128/AEM.03354-12. Epub 2012 Dec 28.

Polyketide synthase gene diversity within the microbiome of the sponge Arenosclera brasiliensis, endemic to the Southern Atlantic Ocean.

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Instituto de Química de São Carlos, Universidade de São Paulo, São Carlos, São Paulo, Brazil.


Microbes associated with marine sponges are considered important producers of bioactive, structurally unique polyketides. The synthesis of such secondary metabolites involves type I polyketide synthases (PKSs), which are enzymes that reach a maximum complexity degree in bacteria. The Haplosclerida sponge Arenosclera brasiliensis hosts a complex microbiota and is the source of arenosclerins, alkaloids with cytotoxic and antibacterial activity. In the present investigation, we performed high-throughput sequencing of the ketosynthase (KS) amplicon to investigate the diversity of PKS genes present in the metagenome of A. brasiliensis. Almost 4,000 ketosynthase reads were recovered, with about 90% annotated automatically as bacterial. A total of 235 bacterial KS contigs was rigorously assembled from this sequence pool and submitted to phylogenetic analysis. A great diversity of six type I PKS groups has been consistently detected in our phylogenetic reconstructions, including a novel and A. brasiliensis-exclusive group. Our study is the first to reveal the diversity of type I PKS genes in A. brasiliensis as well as the potential of its microbiome to serve as a source of new polyketides.

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