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Depolymerization of plant cell wall glycans by symbiotic human gut bacteria (Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron)

ABSTRACT: Symbiotic bacteria inhabiting the distal human gut have evolved under intense pressure to utilize complex carbohydrates, predominantly plant cell wall glycans abundant in our diets. These substrates are recalcitrant to depolymerization by digestive enzymes encoded in the human genome, but are efficiently targeted by some of the ~103-104 bacterial species that inhabit this niche. These species augment our comparatively narrow carbohydrate digestive capacity by unlocking otherwise unusable sugars and fermenting them into host-absorbable forms, such as short-chain fatty acids. We used phenotype profiling, whole-genome transcriptional analysis and molecular genetic approaches to investigate complex glycan utilization by two fully sequenced and closely related human gut symbionts: Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron and Bacteroides ovatus. Together these species target all of the common glycosidic linkages found in the plant cell wall, as well as host polysaccharides, but each species exhibits a unique ‘glycan niche’: in vitro B. thetaiotaomicron targets plant cell wall pectins in addition to linkages contained in host N- and O-glycans; B. ovatus uniquely targets hemicellulosic polysaccharides along with several pectins, but is deficient in host glycan utilization. Growth of Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron in vitro in minimal medium plus different purified complex glycans. Observation of increased gene expression was used to determine genes that are involved in metabolism of each glycan. Two biological replicates each.

ORGANISM(S): Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron  

SUBMITTER: Eric C Martens  Jeffrey I Gordon   Eric Charles Martens    

PROVIDER: E-GEOD-25572 | ArrayExpress | 2011-05-18



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