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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A metagenomic approach to study flavin mediated public good dynamics in hydrocarbon resource environments Ievdokymenko, Kateryna


Emerging lines of evidence indicate that microbes form distributed networks of metabolite exchange based in part on public goods. These networks have the potential to drive the evolution of microbial lineages, and contribute to essential functions and services in natural and engineered ecosystems. However, experimental systems in which to evolve and perturb public good dynamics remain poorly constrained. Here, a functional metagenomic screening approach was used to recover abundant biosynthetic gene clusters with the potential to mediate microbial interactions in the environment. Specifically, 29 gene clusters involved in the production of riboflavin sourced from diverse microbial donor genotypes were recovered by functional screening from two fosmid libraries constructed from methanogenic communities enriched on hydrocarbons. Active clones were sequenced and riboflavin encoding gene cassettes were verified using cluster subcloning. Focusing on observed relationships between mobile genetic elements, metabolite secretion patterns and gene frequency distributions, a role for riboflavin as a public good in hydrocarbon-enriched environments was posited. Overall, this work suggests that secreted riboflavin may have versatile and unrecognized roles in microbial hydrocarbon transformation with potential to modulate microbial community dynamics in hydrocarbon resource environments

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada