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Genetic correlation network prediction of forest soil microb


Ma, Bin ; Zhao, Kun; Lv, Xiaofei; Su, Weiqin; Dai, Zhongmin; Gilbert, Jack; Brookes, Philip; Faust, Karoline; Xu, Jiangming


Soil ecological functions are largely determined by the activities of soil microorganisms, which, in turn, are regulated by relevant interactions between genes and their corresponding pathways. Therefore, the genetic network can theoretically elucidate the functional organization that supports complex microbial community functions, although this has not been previously attempted. We generated a genetic correlation network based on 5421 genes derived from metagenomes of forest soils, identifying 7191 positive and 123 negative correlation relationships. This network consisted of 27 clusters enriched with sets of genes within speci fi c functions, represented with corresponding cluster hubs. The clusters revealed a hierarchical architecture, re fl ecting the functional organization in the soil metagenomes. Positive correlations mapped functional associations, whereas negative correlations often mapped regulatory processes. The potential functions of uncharacterized genes were predicted based on the functions of located clusters. The global genetic correlation network highlights the functional organization in soil metagenomes and provides a resource for predicting gene functions. We anticipate that the genetic correlation network may be exploited to comprehensively decipher soil microbial commu



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