September 22, 2019  |  

Analysis of gut microbiota – An ever changing landscape.

In the last two decades, the field of metagenomics has greatly expanded due to improvement in sequencing technologies allowing for a more comprehensive characterization of microbial communities. The use of these technologies has led to an unprecedented understanding of human, animal, and environmental microbiomes and have shown that the gut microbiota are comparable to an organ that is intrinsically linked with a variety of diseases. Characterization of microbial communities using next-generation sequencing-by-synthesis approaches have revealed important shifts in microbiota associated with debilitating diseases such as Clostridium difficile infection. But due to limitations in sequence read length, primer biases, and the quality of databases, genus- and species-level classification have been difficult. Third-generation technologies, such as Pacific Biosciences’ single molecule, real-time (SMRT) approach, allow for unbiased, more specific identification of species that are likely clinically relevant. Comparison of Illumina next-generation characterization and SMRT sequencing of samples from patients treated for C. difficile infection revealed similarities in community composition at the phylum and family levels, but SMRT sequencing further allowed for species-level characterization – permitting a better understanding of the microbial ecology of this disease. Thus, as sequencing technologies continue to advance, new species-level insights can be gained in the study of complex and clinically-relevant microbial communities.


September 22, 2019  |  

Reduction in fecal microbiota diversity and short-chain fatty acid producers in Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infected individuals as revealed by PacBio single molecule, real-time sequencing technology.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) may cause potentially lethal infections. Increasing evidence suggests that the gut microbiota is associated with human health. Yet, whether patients with MRSA infections carry specific signatures in their fecal microbiota composition has not been determined. Thus, this study aimed to compare the fecal microbiota profile of MRSA-positive patients (n=15) with individuals without MRSA infection (n=15) by using the PacBio single molecule, real-time (SMRT) DNA sequencing system and real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Mann-Whitney tests and unweighted UniFrac principal coordinate analysis (PCoA) showed that the profile of fecal microbiota was apparently different between the two populations. Both the community richness and diversity were reduced in the MRSA-positive group (p<0.050). The genera Acinetobacter and Enterococcus were highly enriched in the MRSA-positive group, whereas less short-chain fatty acid (SCFA)-producing bacteria, including Butyricimonas, Faecalibacterium, Roseburia, Ruminococcus, Megamonas and Phascolarctobacterium, were detected in the MRSA-positive group. At species level, the species Acinetobacter baumannii and Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron were prevalent in the MRSA-positive group, whereas opposite trends were observed in 17 other species, such as Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Lactobacillus rogosae, Megamonas rupellensis and Phascolarctobacterium faecium. Positive correlations were observed between Acinetobacter baumannii and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) (R=0.554, p=0.001), as well as hypersensitive C reactive protein (hsCRP) (R=0.406, p=0.026). Faecalibacterium prausnitzii was negatively associated with ESR (R=-0.545, p=0.002), hsCRP (R=-0.401, p=0.028) and total bile acids (TBA) (R=-0.364, p=0.048). In conclusion, the fecal microbiota structure was different between MRSA-positive and -negative patients. The increase in potential pathogens with the reduction of beneficial populations, such as SCFA-producing bacteria, in MRSA-positive patients may affect prognosis.


September 22, 2019  |  

Long-term microbiota and virome in a Zürich patient after fecal transplantation against Clostridium difficile infection.

Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is an emerging therapeutic option for Clostridium difficile infections that are refractory to conventional treatment. FMT introduces fecal microbes into the patient’s intestine that prevent the recurrence of C. difficile, leading to rapid expansion of bacteria characteristic of healthy microbiota. However, the long-term effects of FMT remain largely unknown. The C. difficile patient described in this paper revealed protracted microbiota adaptation processes from 6 to 42 months post-FMT. Ultimately, bacterial communities were donor similar, suggesting sustainable stool engraftment. Since little is known about the consequences of transmitted viruses during C. difficile infection, we also interrogated virome changes. Our approach allowed identification of about 10 phage types per sample that represented larger viral communities, and phages were found to be equally abundant in the cured patient and donor. The healthy microbiota appears to be characterized by low phage abundance. Although viruses were likely transferred, the patient established a virome distinct from the donor. Surprisingly, the patient had sequences of algal giant viruses (chloroviruses) that have not previously been reported for the human gut. Chloroviruses have not been associated with intestinal disease, but their presence in the oropharynx may influence cognitive abilities. The findings suggest that the virome is an important indicator of health or disease. A better understanding of the role of viruses in the gut ecosystem may uncover novel microbiota-modulating therapeutic strategies.© 2016 New York Academy of Sciences.


September 22, 2019  |  

Long-term changes of bacterial and viral compositions in the intestine of a recovered Clostridium difficile patient after fecal microbiota transplantation

Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is an effective treatment for recurrent Clostridium difficile infections (RCDIs). However, long-term effects on the patients’ gut microbiota and the role of viruses remain to be elucidated. Here, we characterized bacterial and viral microbiota in the feces of a cured RCDI patient at various time points until 4.5 yr post-FMT compared with the stool donor. Feces were subjected to DNA sequencing to characterize bacteria and double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) viruses including phages. The patient’s microbial communities varied over time and showed little overall similarity to the donor until 7 mo post-FMT, indicating ongoing gut microbiota adaption in this time period. After 4.5 yr, the patient’s bacteria attained donor-like compositions at phylum, class, and order levels with similar bacterial diversity. Differences in the bacterial communities between donor and patient after 4.5 yr were seen at lower taxonomic levels. C. difficile remained undetectable throughout the entire timespan. This demonstrated sustainable donor feces engraftment and verified long-term therapeutic success of FMT on the molecular level. Full engraftment apparently required longer than previously acknowledged, suggesting the implementation of year-long patient follow-up periods into clinical practice. The identified dsDNA viruses were mainly Caudovirales phages. Unexpectedly, sequences related to giant algae–infecting Chlorella viruses were also detected. Our findings indicate that intestinal viruses may be implicated in the establishment of gut microbiota. Therefore, virome analyses should be included in gut microbiota studies to determine the roles of phages and other viruses—such as Chlorella viruses—in human health and disease, particularly during RCDI.


September 22, 2019  |  

Design of primers for evaluation of lactic acid bacteria populations in complex biological samples.

Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are important for human health. However, the relative abundance of LAB in complex samples, such as fecal samples, is low and their presence and diversity (at the species level) is understudied. Therefore, we designed LAB-specific primer pairs based on 16S rRNA gene consensus sequences from 443 species of LAB from seven genera. The LAB strains selected were genetically similar and known to play a role in human health. Prior to primer design, we obtained consistent sequences for the primer-binding sites by comparing the 16S rRNA gene sequences, manually identifying single-stranded primers and modifying these primers using degenerate bases. We assembled primer pairs with product sizes of >400 bp. Optimal LAB-specific primers were screened using three methods: PCR amplification, agarose gel electrophoresis and single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing analysis. During the SMRT analysis procedure, we focused on sequence reads and diversity at the species level of target LAB in three fecal samples, using the universal bacterium primer 27f/1492r as a reference control. We created a phylogenetic tree to confirm the ability of the best candidate primer pair to differentiate amongst species. The results revealed that LAB-specific primer L5, with a product size of 750 bp, could generate 3222, 2552, and 3405 sequence reads from fecal Samples 1, 2, and 3. This represented 14, 13 and 10% of all target LAB sequence reads, respectively, compared with 2, 0.8, and 0.8% using the 27f/1492r primer. In addition, L5 detected LAB that were in low abundance and could not be detected using the 27f/1492r primer. The phylogenetic tree based on the alignments between the forward and reverse primer of L5 showed that species within the seven target LAB genera could be distinguished from each other, confirming L5 is a powerful tool for inferring phylogenetic relationships amongst LAB species. In conclusion, L5 is a LAB-specific primer that can be used for high-throughput sequencing and identification of taxa to the species level, especially in complex samples with relatively low LAB content. This enables further research on LAB population diversity in complex ecosystem, and on relationships between LAB and their hosts.


September 22, 2019  |  

The human microbiome and understanding the 16S rRNA gene in translational nursing science.

As more is understood regarding the human microbiome, it is increasingly important for nurse scientists and healthcare practitioners to analyze these microbial communities and their role in health and disease. 16S rRNA sequencing is a key methodology in identifying these bacterial populations that has recently transitioned from use primarily in research to having increased utility in clinical settings.The objectives of this review are to (a) describe 16S rRNA sequencing and its role in answering research questions important to nursing science; (b) provide an overview of the oral, lung, and gut microbiomes and relevant research; and (c) identify future implications for microbiome research and 16S sequencing in translational nursing science.Sequencing using the 16S rRNA gene has revolutionized research and allowed scientists to easily and reliably characterize complex bacterial communities. This type of research has recently entered the clinical setting, one of the best examples involving the use of 16S sequencing to identify resistant pathogens, thereby improving the accuracy of bacterial identification in infection control. Clinical microbiota research and related requisite methods are of particular relevance to nurse scientists-individuals uniquely positioned to utilize these techniques in future studies in clinical settings.


September 22, 2019  |  

Cow-to-mouse fecal transplantations suggest intestinal microbiome as one cause of mastitis.

Mastitis, which affects nearly all lactating mammals including human, is generally thought to be caused by local infection of the mammary glands. For treatment, antibiotics are commonly prescribed, which however are of concern in both treatment efficacy and neonate safety. Here, using bovine mastitis which is the most costly disease in the dairy industry as a model, we showed that intestinal microbiota alone can lead to mastitis.Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) from mastitis, but not healthy cows, to germ-free (GF) mice resulted in mastitis symptoms in mammary gland and inflammations in serum, spleen, and colon. Probiotic intake in parallel with FMT from diseased cows led to relieved mastitis symptoms in mice, by shifting the murine intestinal microbiota to a state that is functionally distinct from either healthy or diseased microbiota yet structurally similar to the latter. Despite conservation in mastitis symptoms, diseased cows and mice shared few mastitis-associated bacterial organismal or functional markers, suggesting striking divergence in mastitis-associated intestinal microbiota among lactating mammals. Moreover, an “amplification effect” of disease-health distinction in both microbiota structure and function was apparent during the cow-to-mouse FMT.Hence, dysbiosis of intestinal microbiota may be one cause of mastitis, and probiotics that restore intestinal microbiota function are an effective and safe strategy to treat mastitis.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genomic microdiversity of Bifidobacterium pseudocatenulatum underlying differential strain-level responses to dietary carbohydrate intervention.

The genomic basis of the response to dietary intervention of human gut beneficial bacteria remains elusive, which hinders precise manipulation of the microbiota for human health. After receiving a dietary intervention enriched with nondigestible carbohydrates for 105 days, a genetically obese child with Prader-Willi syndrome lost 18.4% of his body weight and showed significant improvement in his bioclinical parameters. We obtained five isolates (C1, C15, C55, C62, and C95) of one of the most abundantly promoted beneficial species, Bifidobacterium pseudocatenulatum, from a postintervention fecal sample. Intriguingly, these five B. pseudocatenulatum strains showed differential responses during the dietary intervention. Two strains were largely unaffected, while the other three were promoted to different extents by the changes in dietary carbohydrate resources. The differential responses of these strains were consistent with their functional clustering based on the COGs (Clusters of Orthologous Groups), including those involved with the ABC-type sugar transport systems, suggesting that the strain-specific genomic variations may have contributed to the niche adaption. Particularly, B. pseudocatenulatum C15, which had the most diverse types and highest gene copy numbers of carbohydrate-active enzymes targeting plant polysaccharides, had the highest abundance after the dietary intervention. These studies show the importance of understanding genomic diversity of specific members of the gut microbiota if precise nutrition approaches are to be realized.IMPORTANCE The manipulation of the gut microbiota via dietary approaches is a promising option for improving human health. Our findings showed differential responses of multiple B. pseudocatenulatum strains isolated from the same habitat to the dietary intervention, as well as strain-specific correlations with bioclinical parameters of the host. The comparative genomics revealed a genome-level microdiversity of related functional genes, which may have contributed to these differences. These results highlight the necessity of understanding strain-level differences if precise manipulation of gut microbiota through dietary approaches is to be realized. Copyright © 2017 Wu et al.


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