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Darlene Miller, Jorge Maestre-Mesa, Harry W Flynn; Survey of Archaeal Signatures in Contaminated Lens Case Ecosystems. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2022;63(7):3972 – A0252.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Archaea are prokaryotic members of the Third domain. Although usually missing or ignored in human microbiome studies, they are emerging as intimate and influential immune/disease modulators of the human microbiome in collaboration but distinct from bacteria and or other microbiota. To date, there are 5, but still increasing number of phyla; Crenarchaeota, Euryarchaeota, Korarchaeota, Nanoarchaeota and Thaumarchaeota. They have been recovered from mucosal surfaces including the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), nose, lung, vagina, and also skin. Our purpose was to investigate and document the presence and diversity of archaeal signatures in contact lens case ecosystems collected from the ocular surface of patients presenting with microbial keratitis.
We used whole genome sequencing (WGS) to document and compare the prevalence and diversity of archaeal signatures in 30 contact lens systems (CTLS) of 15 patients presenting with bacteria keratitis (BK), n=6, Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK), n=6, microbial keratitis (MK), n=2 and or fungal keratitis (FK), (n=1).
A total of 3 phyla, 55 genera and 86 species were detected during the WGS survey. At least one archaeal signature was found in all patients’ contact lens cases, but relative abundance for all ecosystems was low (<1%, 9244 tags). Two of the five phyla were detected in 96.7% (n=29/30) of CLTS. These included Euryarcheota (n=78.3%, n=7240 tags, 96.7% of CTLS) and Crenarchaeota, 21.7%, n=2003 tags, also 96.7% of cases. Thaumarchaeota was detected in only 1 patient (6.7%) in 3.3% of cases. Archaeal signatures (tags) were more frequently detected in cases of patients with AK (n=5648, 61.09%) than in cases of patients with BK (n=3527, 38.15%, p<0.0001), FK, n=28, 0.30%, p<0.0001), and or microbial keratitis, n=41, 0.44%, p<0.0001). Methane-producing species (n=39/77, 50.6%) were the dominant members detected among the Euryarchaeota phyla.
Archaea may be present on the ocular mucosa surface. The role these unique prokaryotes may play in ocular surface immune defense or disease disorders is unknown.
This abstract was presented at the 2022 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Denver, CO, May 1-4, 2022, and virtually.
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