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This study aimed to identify the microbial communities, resistance genes, and resistance systems in an Iranian mine soil polluted with toxic trace elements (TTE). The polluted soil samples were collected from a mining area and compared against non-polluted (control) collected soils from the vicinity of the mine. The soil total DNA was extracted and sequenced, and bioinformatic analysis of the assembled metagenomes was conducted to identify soil microbial biodiversity, TTE resistance genes, and resistance systems. The results of the employed shotgun approach indicated that the relative abundance of Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, and Deinococcus-Thermus was significantly higher in the TTE-polluted soils compared with those in the control soils, while the relative abundance of Actinobacteria and Acidobacteria was significantly lower in the polluted soils. The high concentration of TTE increased the ratio of archaea to bacteria and decreased the alpha diversity in the polluted soils compared with the control soils. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) demonstrated that heavy metal pollution was the major driving factor in shaping microbial communities compared with any other soil characteristics. In the identified heavy metal resistome (HV-resistome) of TTE-polluted soils, major functional pathways were carbohydrates metabolism, stress response, amino acid and derivative metabolism, clustering-based subsystems, iron acquisition and metabolism, cell wall synthesis and capsulation, and membrane transportation. Ten TTE resistance systems were identified in the HV-resistome of TTE-polluted soils, dominated by "P-type ATPases," "cation diffusion facilitators," and "heavy metal efflux-resistance nodulation cell division (HME-RND)." Most of the resistance genes (69%) involved in resistance systems are affiliated to cell wall, outer membrane, periplasm, and cytoplasmic membrane. The finding of this study provides insight into the microbial community in Iranian TTE-polluted soils and their resistance genes and systems.


Mohammad Hossein Hemmat-Jou, Ali Akbar Safari-Sinegani, Rongxiao Che, Asghar Mirzaie-Asl, Arezoo Tahmourespour, Iman Tahmasbian. Toxic trace element resistance genes and systems identified using the shotgun metagenomics approach in an Iranian mine soil. Environmental science and pollution research international. 2021 Jan;28(4):4845-4856

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PMID: 32949366

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