Metagenomic Thermometer

DNA Res. 2023 Dec 1;30(6):dsad024. doi: 10.1093/dnares/dsad024.


Various microorganisms exist in environments, and each of them has its optimal growth temperature (OGT). The relationship between genomic information and OGT of each species has long been studied, and one such study revealed that OGT of prokaryotes can be accurately predicted based on the fraction of seven amino acids (IVYWREL) among all encoded amino-acid sequences in its genome. Extending this discovery, we developed a 'Metagenomic Thermometer' as a means of predicting environmental temperature based on metagenomic sequences. Temperature prediction of diverse environments using publicly available metagenomic data revealed that the Metagenomic Thermometer can predict environmental temperatures with small temperature changes and little influx of microorganisms from other environments. The accuracy of the Metagenomic Thermometer was also confirmed by a demonstration experiment using an artificial hot water canal. The Metagenomic Thermometer was also applied to human gut metagenomic samples, yielding a reasonably accurate value for human body temperature. The result further suggests that deep body temperature determines the dominant lineage of the gut community. Metagenomic Thermometer provides a new insight into temperature-driven community assembly based on amino-acid composition rather than microbial taxa.

Keywords: community assembly; hot spring; human gut; metagenome; temperature.

MeSH terms

  • Genomics
  • Humans
  • Metagenome*
  • Metagenomics
  • Thermometers*