Marine Biotechnology

, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp 659–671 | Cite as

Metagenomic Analysis of Genes Encoding Nutrient Cycling Pathways in the Microbiota of Deep-Sea and Shallow-Water Sponges

  • Zhiyong LiEmail author
  • Yuezhu Wang
  • Jinlong Li
  • Fang Liu
  • Liming He
  • Ying He
  • Shenyue Wang
Original Article


Sponges host complex symbiotic communities, but to date, the whole picture of the metabolic potential of sponge microbiota remains unclear, particularly the difference between the shallow-water and deep-sea sponge holobionts. In this study, two completely different sponges, shallow-water sponge Theonella swinhoei from the South China Sea and deep-sea sponge Neamphius huxleyi from the Indian Ocean, were selected to compare their whole symbiotic communities and metabolic potential, particularly in element transformation. Phylogenetically diverse bacteria, archaea, fungi, and algae were detected in both shallow-water sponge T. swinhoei and deep-sea sponge N. huxleyi, and different microbial community structures were indicated between these two sponges. Metagenome-based gene abundance analysis indicated that, though the two sponge microbiota have similar core functions, they showed different potential strategies in detailed metabolic processes, e.g., in the transformation and utilization of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur by corresponding microbial symbionts. This study provides insight into the putative metabolic potentials of the microbiota associated with the shallow-water and deep-sea sponges at the whole community level, extending our knowledge of the sponge microbiota’s functions, the association of sponge- microbes, as well as the adaption of sponge microbiota to the marine environment.


Sponge holobiont Metagenomics Metabolic profile Nutrient element 



Financial supports from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (U1301131, 41176127, 41076077) and Minhang Leading Talent Project are greatly acknowledged.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary material

10126_2016_9725_MOESM1_ESM.doc (1.8 mb)
ESM 1 (DOC 1.81 mb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhiyong Li
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yuezhu Wang
    • 2
  • Jinlong Li
    • 1
  • Fang Liu
    • 1
  • Liming He
    • 1
  • Ying He
    • 3
  • Shenyue Wang
    • 2
  1. 1.Marine Biotechnology Laboratory, State Key Laboratory of Microbial Metabolism and School of Life Sciences and BiotechnologyShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Shanghai-MOST Key Laboratory of Health and Disease GenomicsChinese National Human Genome Center at ShanghaiShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Laboratory of Marine Oceanography, State Key Laboratory of Microbial Metabolism and School of Life Sciences and BiotechnologyShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China

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