Cell Genomics 2(12) , 100213 ( 2022)
The phylum Actinobacteria includes important human pathogens like Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Corynebacterium diphtheriae and renowned producers of secondary metabolites of commercial interest, yet only a small part of its diversity is represented by sequenced genomes. Here, we present 824 actinobacterial isolate genomes in the context of a phylum-wide analysis of 6,700 genomes including public isolates and metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs). We estimate that only 30%–50% of projected actinobacterial phylogenetic diversity possesses genomic representation via isolates and MAGs. A comparison of gene functions reveals novel determinants of host-microbe interaction as well as environment-specific adaptations such as potential antimicrobial peptides. We identify plasmids and prophages across isolates and uncover extensive prophage diversity structured mainly by host taxonomy. Analysis of >80,000 biosynthetic gene clusters reveals that horizontal gene transfer and gene loss shape secondary metabolite repertoire across taxa. Our observations illustrate the essential role of and need for high-quality isolate genome sequences.