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Title: Diversity, stability, and resilience of the human gut microbiota

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Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0028--0836
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Nature; Journal Volume: 489; Journal Issue: 7415; Related Information: Journal Publication Date: 2012
Country of Publication:
United States

Citation Formats

Lozupone, C. A., Stombaugh, J. I., Gordon, J. I., Jansson, J. K., and Knight, R. Diversity, stability, and resilience of the human gut microbiota. United States: N. p., 2012. Web. doi:10.1038/nature11550.
Lozupone, C. A., Stombaugh, J. I., Gordon, J. I., Jansson, J. K., & Knight, R. Diversity, stability, and resilience of the human gut microbiota. United States. doi:10.1038/nature11550.
Lozupone, C. A., Stombaugh, J. I., Gordon, J. I., Jansson, J. K., and Knight, R. 2012. "Diversity, stability, and resilience of the human gut microbiota". United States. doi:10.1038/nature11550.
title = {Diversity, stability, and resilience of the human gut microbiota},
author = {Lozupone, C. A. and Stombaugh, J. I. and Gordon, J. I. and Jansson, J. K. and Knight, R.},
abstractNote = {},
doi = {10.1038/nature11550},
journal = {Nature},
number = 7415,
volume = 489,
place = {United States},
year = 2012,
month = 9
  • Comparisons between the fecal microbiota of humans from industrialized and non-industrialized communities indicate a pronounced impact of westernization on the diversity and composition of the human gut microbiota. However, the exact consequences of westernization on community characteristics are still insufficiently understood, and the ecological processes that drive differences have not been elucidated. Here we have compared the fecal microbiota of adults from two non-industrialized regions in Papua New Guinea (PNG) with that of United States (US) residents. Papua New Guineans harbor communities with greater bacterial diversity but lower inter-individual variation. Although the fecal microbiota in PNG and US was largelymore » dominated by shared bacterial lineages, the relative abundance of 25 families, 45 genera, and 230 species-level OTUs differed, and 47 core OTUs in PNG were undetectable in US residents. To gain insight into the ecological mechanisms that cause the observed differences, we quantified community assembly processes in PNG and US microbiomes using a null modeling approach. This analysis demonstrated a significant higher rate of bacterial dispersal in PNG and divergent selective environments in the US. Interestingly, equivalent findings were obtained for other datasets comparing industrialized and non-industrialized microbiomes. Overall, the findings demonstrate a dominant role for microbial dispersal in shaping the human gut microbiota in non-industrialized societies, and point to differential selection pressures across individuals as a major factor shaping microbiomes associated with modern lifestyle.« less
  • Benzidine-based azo dyes are proven mutagens and have been linked to bladder cancer. Previous studies have indicated that their initial reduction is the result of the azo reductase activity of the intestinal microbiota. Metabolism of the benzidine-based dye Direct Black 38 was examined by using a semicontinuous culture system that simulates the lumen of the human large intestine. The system was inoculated with freshly voided feces, and an active flora was maintained as evidenced by volatile fatty acid and gas production. Within 7 days after exposure to the dye, the following metabolites were isolated and identified by gas chromatography -more » mass spectrometry: benzidine, 4-aminobiphenyl, monoacetylbenzidine, and acetylaminobiphenyl. Benzidine reached its peak level after 24 h, accounting for 39.1% of the added dye. Its level began to decline, and by day 7 the predominant metabolite was acetylaminobiphenyl, which accounted for 51.1% of the parent compound. Formation of the deaminated and N-acetylated analogs of benzidine, which have enhanced mutagenicity and lipophilicity, previously has not been attributed to the intestinal microbiota.« less
  • The human gut contains a dense, complex and diverse microbial community, comprising the gut microbiome. Metagenomics has recently revealed the composition of genes in the gut microbiome, but provides no direct information about which genes are expressed or functioning. Therefore, our goal was to develop a novel approach to directly identify microbial proteins in fecal samples to gain information about the genes expressed and about key microbial functions in the human gut. We used a non-targeted, shotgun mass spectrometry-based whole community proteomics, or metaproteomics, approach for the first deep proteome measurements of thousands of proteins in human fecal samples, thusmore » demonstrating this approach on the most complex sample type to date. The resulting metaproteomes had a skewed distribution relative to the metagenome, with more proteins for translation, energy production and carbohydrate metabolism when compared to what was earlier predicted from metagenomics. Human proteins, including antimicrobial peptides, were also identified, providing a non-targeted glimpse of the host response to the microbiota. Several unknown proteins represented previously undescribed microbial pathways or host immune responses, revealing a novel complex interplay between the human host and its associated microbes.« less
  • The adult human distal gut microbial community is typically dominated by 2 bacterial phyla (divisions), the Firmicutes and the Bacteroidetes. Little is known about the factors that govern the interactions between their members. Here, we examine the niches of representatives of both phyla in vivo. Finished genome sequences were generated from Eubacterium rectale and E. eligens, which belong to Clostridium Cluster XIVa, one of the most common gut Firmicute clades. Comparison of these and 25 other gut Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes indicated that the Firmicutes possess smaller genomes and a disproportionately smaller number of glycan-degrading enzymes. Germ-free mice were then colonizedmore » with E. rectale and/or a prominent human gut Bacteroidetes, Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, followed by whole-genome transcriptional profiling, high-resolution proteomic analysis, and biochemical assays of microbial microbial and microbial host interactions. B. thetaiotaomicron adapts to E. rectale by up-regulating expression of a variety of polysaccharide utilization loci encoding numerous glycoside hydrolases, and by signaling the host to produce mucosal glycans that it, but not E. rectale, can access. E. rectale adapts to B. thetaiotaomicron by decreasing production of its glycan-degrading enzymes, increasing expression of selected amino acid and sugar transporters, and facilitating glycolysis by reducing levels of NADH, in part via generation of butyrate from acetate, which in turn is used by the gut epithelium. This simplified model of the human gut microbiota illustrates niche specialization and functional redundancy within members of its major bacterial phyla, and the importance of host glycans as a nutrient foundation that ensures ecosystem stability.« less