Metagenomic exploration of the marine sponge mycale hentscheli uncovers multiple polyketide-producing bacterial symbionts

© 2020 Storey et al. Marine sponges have been a prolific source of unique bioactive compounds that are presumed to act as a deterrent to predation. Many of these compounds have potential therapeutic applications; however, the lack of efficient and sustainable synthetic routes frequently limits clinical development. Here, we describe a metag-enomic investigation of Mycale hentscheli, a chemically gifted marine sponge that pos-sesses multiple distinct chemotypes. We applied shotgun metagenomic sequencing, hybrid assembly of short-and long-read data, and metagenomic binning to obtain a comprehensive picture of the microbiome of five specimens, spanning three chemo-types. Our data revealed multiple producing species, each having relatively modest secondary metabolomes, that contribute collectively to the chemical arsenal of the holo-biont. We assembled complete genomes for multiple new genera, including two species that produce the cytotoxic polyketides pateamine and mycalamide, as well as a third high-abundance symbiont harboring a proteusin-type biosynthetic pathway that appears to encode a new polytheonamide-like compound. We also identified an additional 188 biosynthetic gene clusters, including a pathway for biosynthesis of peloruside. These re-sults suggest that multiple species cooperatively contribute to defensive symbiosis in M. hentscheli and reveal that the taxonomic diversity of secondary-metabolite-producing sponge symbionts is larger and richer than previously recognized. IMPORTANCE Mycale hentscheli is a marine sponge that is rich in bioactive small mol-ecules. Here, we use direct metagenomic sequencing to elucidate highly complete and contiguous genomes for the major symbiotic bacteria of this sponge. We identify complete biosynthetic pathways for the three potent cytotoxic polyketides which have previously been isolated from M. hentscheli. Remarkably, and in contrast to previous studies of marine sponges, we attribute each of these metabolites to a different producing mi-crobe. We also find that the microbiome of M. hentscheli is stably maintained among in-dividuals, even over long periods of time. Collectively, our data suggest a cooperative mode of defensive symbiosis in which multiple symbiotic bacterial species cooperatively contribute to the defensive chemical arsenal of the holobiont.