Impact of DNA extraction method and targeted 16S-rRNA hypervariable region on oral microbiota profiling

Sci Rep. 2018 Nov 5;8(1):16321. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-34294-x.


Amplification and sequencing of 16S amplicons are widely used for profiling the structure of oral microbiota. However, it remains not clear whether and to what degree DNA extraction and targeted 16S rRNA hypervariable regions influence the analysis. Based on a mock community consisting of five oral bacterial species in equal abundance, we compared the 16S amplicon sequencing results on the Illumina MiSeq platform from six frequently employed DNA extraction procedures and three pairs of widely used 16S rRNA hypervariable primers targeting different 16S rRNA regions. Technical reproducibility of selected 16S regions was also assessed. DNA extraction method exerted considerable influence on the observed bacterial diversity while hypervariable regions had a relatively minor effect. Protocols with beads added to the enzyme-mediated DNA extraction reaction produced more accurate bacterial community structure than those without either beads or enzymes. Hypervariable regions targeting V3-V4 and V4-V5 seemed to produce more reproducible results than V1-V3. Neither sequencing batch nor change of operator affected the reproducibility of bacterial diversity profiles. Therefore, DNA extraction strategy and 16S rDNA hypervariable regions both influenced the results of oral microbiota biodiversity profiling, thus should be carefully considered in study design and data interpretation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chemical Fractionation / methods*
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics*
  • DNA, Bacterial / isolation & purification*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Humans
  • Microbiota / genetics*
  • Mouth / microbiology*
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S