Project description:Gut microbiome research is rapidly moving towards the functional characterization of the microbiota by means of shotgun meta-omics. Here, we selected a cohort of healthy subjects from an indigenous and monitored Sardinian population to analyze their gut microbiota using both shotgun metagenomics and shotgun metaproteomics. We found a considerable divergence between genetic potential and functional activity of the human healthy gut microbiota, in spite of a quite comparable taxonomic structure revealed by the two approaches. Investigation of inter-individual variability of taxonomic features revealed Bacteroides and Akkermansia as remarkably conserved and variable in abundance within the population, respectively. Firmicutes-driven butyrogenesis (mainly due to Faecalibacterium spp.) was shown to be the functional activity with the higher expression rate and the lower inter-individual variability in the study cohort, highlighting the key importance of the biosynthesis of this microbial by-product for the gut homeostasis. The taxon-specific contribution to functional activities and metabolic tasks was also examined, giving insights into the peculiar role of several gut microbiota members in carbohydrate metabolism (including polysaccharide degradation, glycan transport, glycolysis and short-chain fatty acid production). In conclusion, our results provide useful indications regarding the main functions actively exerted by the gut microbiota members of a healthy human cohort, and support metaproteomics as a valuable approach to investigate the functional role of the gut microbiota in health and disease.
Project description:Long-term dietary intake influences the structure and activity of the trillions of microorganisms residing in the human gut, but it remains unclear how rapidly and reproducibly the human gut microbiome responds to short-term macronutrient change. Here we show that the short-term consumption of diets composed entirely of animal or plant products alters microbial community structure and overwhelms inter-individual differences in microbial gene expression. The animal-based diet increased the abundance of bile-tolerant microorganisms (Alistipes, Bilophila and Bacteroides) and decreased the levels of Firmicutes that metabolize dietary plant polysaccharides (Roseburia, Eubacterium rectale and Ruminococcus bromii). Microbial activity mirrored differences between herbivorous and carnivorous mammals, reflecting trade-offs between carbohydrate and protein fermentation. Foodborne microbes from both diets transiently colonized the gut, including bacteria, fungi and even viruses. Finally, increases in the abundance and activity of Bilophila wadsworthia on the animal-based diet support a link between dietary fat, bile acids and the outgrowth of microorganisms capable of triggering inflammatory bowel disease. In concert, these results demonstrate that the gut microbiome can rapidly respond to altered diet, potentially facilitating the diversity of human dietary lifestyles. RNA-Seq analysis of the human gut microbiome during consumption of a plant- or animal-based diet.
Project description:The human gut is colonized by trillions of microorganisms that influence human health and disease through the metabolism of xenobiotics, including therapeutic drugs and antibiotics. The diversity and metabolic potential of the human gut microbiome have been extensively characterized, but it remains unclear which microorganisms are active and which perturbations can influence this activity. Here, we use flow cytometry, 16S rRNA gene sequencing, and metatranscriptomics to demonstrate that the human gut contains distinctive subsets of active and damaged microorganisms, primarily composed of Firmicutes, which display marked temporal variation. Short-term exposure to a panel of xenobiotics resulted in significant changes in the physiology and gene expression of this active microbiome. Xenobiotic-responsive genes were found across multiple bacterial phyla, encoding novel candidate proteins for antibiotic resistance, drug metabolism, and stress response. These results demonstrate the power of moving beyond DNA-based measurements of microbial communities to better understand their physiology and metabolism. RNA-Seq analysis of the human gut microbiome during exposure to antibiotics and therapeutic drugs.
Project description:Morphine and its pharmacological derivatives are the most prescribed analgesics for moderate to severe pain management. However, chronic use of morphine reduces pathogen clearance and induces bacterial translocation across the gut barrier. The enteric microbiome has been shown to play a critical role in the preservation of the mucosal barrier function and metabolic homeostasis. Here, we show for the first time, using bacterial 16s rDNA sequencing, that chronic morphine treatment significantly alters the gut microbial composition and induces preferential expansion of the gram-positive pathogenic and reduction of bile-deconjugating bacterial strains. A significant reduction in both primary and secondary bile acid levels was seen in the gut, but not in the liver with morphine treatment. Morphine induced microbial dysbiosis and gut barrier disruption was rescued by transplanting placebo-treated microbiota into morphine-treated animals, indicating that microbiome modulation could be exploited as a therapeutic strategy for patients using morphine for pain management. In this study, we establish a link between the two phenomena, namely gut barrier compromise and dysregulated bile acid metabolism. We show for the first time that morphine fosters significant gut microbial dysbiosis and disrupts cholesterol/bile acid metabolism. Changes in the gut microbial composition is strongly correlated to disruption in host inflammatory homeostasis13,14 and in many diseases (e.g. cancer/HIV infection), persistent inflammation is known to aid and promote the progression of the primary morbidity. We show here that chronic morphine, gut microbial dysbiosis, disruption of cholesterol/bile acid metabolism and gut inflammation; have a linear correlation. This opens up the prospect of devising minimally invasive adjunct treatment strategies involving microbiome and bile acid modulation and thus bringing down morphine-mediated inflammation in the host.
Project description:Opioid analgesics are frequently prescribed in the United States and worldwide. However, serious side effects such as addiction, immunosuppression and gastrointestinal symptoms limit long term use. In the current study using a chronic morphine-murine model a longitudinal approach was undertaken to investigate the role of morphine modulation of gut microbiome as a mechanism contributing to the negative consequences associated with opioids use. The results revealed a significant shift in the gut microbiome and metabolome within 24 hours following morphine treatment when compared to placebo. Morphine induced gut microbial dysbiosis exhibited distinct characteristic signatures profiles including significant increase in communities associated with pathogenic function, decrease in communities associated with stress tolerance. Collectively, these results reveal opioids-induced distinct alteration of gut microbiome, may contribute to opioids-induced pathogenesis. Therapeutics directed at these targets may prolong the efficacy long term opioid use with fewer side effects.
Project description:Opioids such as morphine have many beneficial properties as analgesics, however, opioids may induce multiple adverse gastrointestinal symptoms. We have recently demonstrated that morphine treatment results in significant disruption in gut barrier function leading to increased translocation of gut commensal bacteria. However, it is unclear how opioids modulate the gut homeostasis. By using a mouse model of morphine treatment, we studied effects of morphine treatment on gut microbiome. We characterized phylogenetic profiles of gut microbes, and found a significant shift in the gut microbiome and increase of pathogenic bacteria following morphine treatment when compared to placebo. In the present study, wild type mice (C57BL/6J) were implanted with placebo, morphine pellets subcutaneously. Fecal matter were taken for bacterial 16s rDNA sequencing analysis at day 3 post treatment. A scatter plot based on an unweighted UniFrac distance matrics obtained from the sequences at OTU level with 97% similarity showed a distinct clustering of the community composition between the morphine and placebo treated groups. By using the chao1 index to evaluate alpha diversity (that is diversity within a group) and using unweighted UniFrac distance to evaluate beta diversity (that is diversity between groups, comparing microbial community based on compositional structures), we found that morphine treatment results in a significant decrease in alpha diversity and shift in fecal microbiome at day 3 post treatment compared to placebo treatment. Taxonomical analysis showed that morphine treatment results in a significant increase of potential pathogenic bacteria. Our study shed light on effects of morphine on the gut microbiome, and its role in the gut homeostasis.
Project description:Hundreds of microbial species were found to be transcriptionally active in the human gut microbiome based on the expression profiling of ca. 680.000 microbial genes As a part of the MetaHIT cohort 233 human stool samples were transcriptionally profiled using a custom made microarray that included probes for most prevalent microbial genes in the cohort as established by whole-genome sequencing of the same samples