Unravelling plasmidome distribution and interaction with its hosting microbiome

Aya Brown Kav, Roye Rozov, David Bogumil, Søren Johannes Sørensen, Lars Hestbjerg Hansen, Itai Benhar, Eran Halperin, Ron Shamir, Itzhak Mizrahi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Horizontal gene transfer via plasmids plays a pivotal role in microbial evolution. The forces that shape plasmidomes functionality and distribution in natural environments are insufficiently understood. Here, we present a comparative study of plasmidomes across adjacent microbial environments present in different individual rumen microbiomes. Our findings show that the rumen plasmidome displays enormous unknown functional potential currently unannotated in available databases. Nevertheless, this unknown functionality is conserved and shared with published rat gut plasmidome data. Moreover, the rumen plasmidome is highly diverse compared with the microbiome that hosts these plasmids, across both similar and different rumen habitats. Our analysis demonstrates that its structure is shaped more by stochasticity than selection. Nevertheless, the plasmidome is an active partner in its intricate relationship with the host microbiome with both interacting with and responding to their environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-44
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020


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