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Towards spatial host-microbiome profiling

Time: Tue 2021-02-23 13.00

Location:, (English)

Subject area: Biotechnology

Doctoral student: Britta Lötstedt , Genteknologi

Opponent: Petri Auvinen,

Supervisor: Joakim Lundeberg, Science for Life Laboratory, SciLifeLab, Genteknologi


Sequencing technologies and applications have pushed the limits and enabled novel studies of biological mechanisms, evolutionary relationships and communication networks between cells. The technical developments leading to single cell RNA-sequencing have enabled detection of rare cell populations while spatial resolution added insights into larger biological environments, like tissues and organs. Massively parallel sequencing has paved the way for integrated high-throughput analyses including that of studying gene expression, protein expression and mapping of microbial communities. This thesis starts with an introduction describing the technical and biological advancements made in recent years with focus on spatially resolved approaches. Then, a summary of recent accomplishments is presented, which enabled ongoing work in a novel field of spatial hostmicrobiome profiling. Lastly, the concluding remarks include both a future perspective and a short reflection on the current developments in the spatial multi-omics field. 16S sequencing is often used for taxonomic classification of bacteria. In Paper I, this sequencing technique was used to study the aerodigestive microbiome in pediatric lung transplant recipients. Many of these patients regretfully reject the organ after transplant, but the underlying cause is, in many cases, unknown. In this paper, multiple factors influencing rejection were examined including that of the aerodigestive microbiome. Pediatric lung transplant recipients often suffer from gastrointestinal dysmotility and the focus of this study was also to analyze changes in the microbiome in relation to irregular gastric muscle movements. The results showed that lung transplant recipients had, in general, lower microbial diversity in the gastric fluid and throat and also that the microbial overlap between lung and gastric sampling sites was significantly less in transplant recipients compared to controls. In addition, gastrointestinal dysmotility was shown to influence the gastric microbiome in lung transplant recipients, but, given the small sample size available in this study, the correlation to patient outcome could not be examined. Integrated analysis of the transcriptome and the antibody-based proteome in the same tissue section was enabled using the method developed in Paper II. Spatial Multi- Omics (SM-Omics) uses a barcoded glass array to capture mRNA and antibody-based expression of selected proteins in the same section. The antibody-based profiling of the tissue section was enabled by either immunofluorescence or DNA-barcoded antibodies that were then decoded by sequencing. The protocol was scaled-up using an automated liquidhandling system. Using this method, simultaneous profiling of the transcriptome and multiplexed protein values was determined in both the mouse brain cortex and mouse spleen. Results showed a high correlation in spatial pattern between gene expression and antibody measurements, independently of the antibody labelling technique. SM-Omics generates a high-plex multi-omics characterization of the tissue in a high throughput manner while exhibiting low technical variation.