Comparison of Metagenomics and Metatranscriptomics Tools: A Guide to Making the Right Choice
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AuthorTerrón Camero, Laura Carmen; Gordillo González, Fernando; Salas Espejo, Eduardo; Andrés León, Eduardo
Terrón-Camero, L.C... [et al.]. Comparison of Metagenomics and Metatranscriptomics Tools: A Guide to Making the Right Choice. Genes 2022, 13, 2280. [https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13122280]
Sponsorshipregional Andalusian Government; POSTDOC_21 _00394
The study of microorganisms is a field of great interest due to their environmental (e.g., soil contamination) and biomedical (e.g., parasitic diseases, autism) importance. The advent of revolutionary next-generation sequencing techniques, and their application to the hypervariable regions of the 16S, 18S or 23S ribosomal subunits, have allowed the research of a large variety of organisms more in-depth, including bacteria, archaea, eukaryotes and fungi. Additionally, together with the development of analysis software, the creation of specific databases (e.g., SILVA or RDP) has boosted the enormous growth of these studies. As the cost of sequencing per sample has continuously decreased, new protocols have also emerged, such as shotgun sequencing, which allows the profiling of all taxonomic domains in a sample. The sequencing of hypervariable regions and shotgun sequencing are technologies that enable the taxonomic classification of microorganisms from the DNA present in microbial communities. However, they are not capable of measuring what is actively expressed. Conversely, we advocate that metatranscriptomics is a “new” technology that makes the identification of the mRNAs of a microbial community possible, quantifying gene expression levels and active biological pathways. Furthermore, it can be also used to characterise symbiotic interactions between the host and its microbiome. In this manuscript, we examine the three technologies above, and discuss the implementation of different software and databases, which greatly impact the obtaining of reliable results. Finally, we have developed two easy-to-use pipelines leveraging Nextflow technology. These aim to provide everything required for an average user to perform a metagenomic analysis of marker genes with QIMME2 and a metatranscriptomic study using Kraken2/Bracken.