Evaluation of microbiome enrichment and host DNA depletion in human vaginal samples using Oxford Nanopore’s adaptive sequencing

in: Scientific Reports (2022)
Marquet, Mike; Zöllkau, Janine; Pastuschek, Jana; Viehweger, Adrian; Schleußner, Ekkehard; Makarewicz, Oliwia; Pletz, Mathias W.; Ehricht, Ralf; Brandt, Christian
Metagenomic sequencing is promising for clinical applications to study microbial composition concerning disease or patient outcomes. Alterations of the vaginal microbiome are associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes, like preterm premature rupture of membranes and preterm birth. Methodologically these samples often have to deal with low relative amounts of prokaryotic DNA and high amounts of host DNA (> 90%), decreasing the overall microbial resolution. Nanopore’s adaptive sampling method offers selective DNA depletion or target enrichment to directly reject or accept DNA molecules during sequencing without specialized sample preparation. Here, we demonstrate how selective ‘human host depletion’ resulted in a 1.70 fold (± 0.27 fold) increase in total sequencing depth, providing higher taxonomic profiling sensitivity. At the same time, the microbial composition remains consistent with the control experiments. The complete removal of all human host sequences is not yet possible and should be considered as an ethical approval statement might still be necessary. Adaptive sampling increased microbial sequencing yield in all 15 sequenced clinical routine vaginal samples, making it a valuable tool for clinical surveillance and medical-based research, which can be used in addition to other host depletion methods before sequencing.

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