Metatranscriptomics falls under the umbrella term of metagenomics. It is a scientific way to “eavesdrop on microbial ecology.” Metatranscriptomics is the large-scale sequencing of mRNA from microbial communities, which helps us to learn about the activities and regulation of activities of microbial communities. It provides us with a tool to understand the timing and regulation of microbial processes within communities and also to help us understand how the microbial communities respond to changing conditions. This technique will help us to discover gene expression patterns. It involves random sequencing from mRNA from a microbial community without the use of primers or probes. It is then analyzed via pyrosequencing.Edit
1) There is not a predictable relationship between mRNA amount and protein activity (e.g.; genes can be constitutively expressed, posttranslational regulation of enzyme activity.) However, metatranscriptomics can be complemented by metaproteomics.
2) Only a small percentage of the large numbers of ecologically important genes have been annotated correctly. Existing databases lack many of the sequences discovered via metatranscriptomics.
3) Technical difficulties, such as the collection of environmental RNA.
4) Does metatranscriptomics truly provide an unbiased sample of the mRNA pool from microbial communities?