Tidying up international nucleotide sequence databases: ecological, geographical and sequence quality annotation of its sequences of mycorrhizal fungi

Leho Tedersoo, Kessy Abarenkov, R Henrik Nilsson, Arthur Schuessler, Gwen-Aelle Grelet, Petr Kohout, Jane Oja, Gregory M. Bonito, Vilmar Veldre, Teele Jairus, Martin Ryberg, Karl-Henrik Larsson, Urmas Koeljalg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


Sequence analysis of the ribosomal RNA operon, particularly the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region, provides a powerful tool for identification of mycorrhizal fungi. The sequence data deposited in the International Nucleotide Sequence Databases (INSD) are, however, unfiltered for quality and are often poorly annotated with metadata. To detect chimeric and low-quality sequences and assign the ectomycorrhizal fungi to phylogenetic lineages, fungal ITS sequences were downloaded from INSD, aligned within family-level groups, and examined through phylogenetic analyses and BLAST searches. By combining the fungal sequence database UNITE and the annotation and search tool PlutoF, we also added metadata from the literature to these accessions. Altogether 35,632 sequences belonged to mycorrhizal fungi or originated from ericoid and orchid mycorrhizal roots. Of these sequences, 677 were considered chimeric and 2,174 of low read quality. Information detailing country of collection, geographical coordinates, interacting taxon and isolation source were supplemented to cover 78.0%, 33.0%, 41.7% and 96.4% of the sequences, respectively. These annotated sequences are publicly available via UNITE (http://unite.ut.ee/) for downstream biogeographic, ecological and taxonomic analyses. In European Nucleotide Archive (ENA; http://www.ebi.ac.uk/ena/), the annotated sequences have a special link-out to UNITE. We intend to expand the data annotation to additional genes and all taxonomic groups and functional guilds of fungi.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere24940
Number of pages7
JournalPloS ONE
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2011

Cite this