High-throughput stable isotope probing (SIP) proved to vastly reduce labor and improve results. Applying this method to the study of a particular fungi, researchers identified novel interactions between bacteria and the fungi.
These fungi are part of the genus Lentinula, which have evolved to decompose hardwoods on every continent besides Europe and Antarctica. Lentinula mushrooms are white rot fungi, belonging to an elite group of decomposers that can break down all of wood’s components — cellulose, hemicellulose, and the toughest molecule, lignin. Understanding Lentinula genomes and their evolution could provide strategies for converting plant waste into sugars for biofuel production.
At SC21, the HPCwire Editors Choice Award for Best Use of HPC in Life Sciences went to the Berkeley Lab team comprised of JGI and ExaBiome Project team, supported by the DOE Exascale Computing Project. The award recognized the release of MetaHipMer, an end-to-end genome assembler that supports “an unprecendented assembly of environmental microbiomes.
“They produced fantastic scientific results this year by assembling a collection of large datasets that will enable scientists to explore and collect data in new ways,” said JGI Chief Informatics Officer Kjiersten Fagnan of the award. “We’re excited to be able to offer this capability to the JGI user community moving forward and to assemble, for the first time these large environmental microbial data sets for JGI users, which include projects looking at wildfire impacts, carbon cycling, and the microbial dynamics in freshwater lakes over a several year period.”
As part of an international team, researchers at the Joint Genome Institute (JGI) helped sequence and analyze the genomes of four fungi of the genus Armillaria. Often called the humongous fungus, Armillaria form some of the planet’s largest living organisms. They are also among the most devastating fungal pathogens, capable of breaking down all of the components of a host plant’s cell walls.
“Obtaining a complete genome of a microbe that is industrially important greatly stimulates research in the area…. We can expect an explosive interest in yeast biology in the coming years.”
To help boost the use of a wider range of yeasts and to explore the use of genes and pathways encoded in their genomes, a team led by DOE JGI researchers conducted a comparative genomic analysis of 29 yeasts, including 16 whose genomes were newly sequenced and annotated. In the study published the week of August 15, 2016 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the team mapped various metabolic pathways to yeast growth profiles. Read more on the DOE JGI website.