Optimizing the Analysis of Human Intestinal Microbiota With Phylogenetic Microarray

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Phylogenetic microarrays present an attractive strategy to high-throughput interrogation of complex microbial communities. In this work, we present several approaches to optimize the analysis of intestinal microbiota with the recently developed Microbiota Array. First, we determined how 16S rDNA-specific PCR amplification influenced bacterial detection and the consistency of measured abundance values. Bacterial detection improved with an increase in the number of PCR amplification cycles, but 25 cycles were sufficient to achieve the maximum possible detection. A PCR-caused deviation in the measured abundance values was also observed. We also developed two mathematical algorithms that aimed to account for a predicted cross-hybridization of 16S rDNA fragments among different species, and to adjust the measured hybridization signal based on the number of 16S rRNA gene copies per species genome. The 16S rRNA gene copy adjustment indicated that the presence of members of the class Clostridia might be overestimated in some 16S rDNA-based studies. Finally, we show that the examination of total community RNA with phylogenetic microarray can provide estimates of the relative metabolic activity of individual community members. Complementary profiling of genomic DNA and total RNA isolated from the same sample presents an opportunity to assess population structure and activity in the same microbial community.



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