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Functional dynamics of bacterial species in the mouse gut microbiome revealed by metagenomic and metatranscriptomic analyses

 Youn Wook Chung  ;  Ho-Jin Gwak  ;  Sungmin Moon  ;  Mina Rho  ;  Ji-Hwan Ryu 
 PLOS ONE, Vol.15(1) : e0227886, 2020 
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BACKGROUND: Microbial communities of the mouse gut have been extensively studied; however, their functional roles and regulation are yet to be elucidated. Metagenomic and metatranscriptomic analyses may allow us a comprehensive profiling of bacterial composition and functions of the complex gut microbiota. The present study aimed to investigate the active functions of the microbial communities in the murine cecum by analyzing both metagenomic and metatranscriptomic data on specific bacterial species within the microbial communities, in addition to the whole microbiome. RESULTS: Bacterial composition of the healthy mouse gut microbiome was profiled using the following three different approaches: 16S rRNA-based profiling based on amplicon and shotgun sequencing data, and genome-based profiling based on shotgun sequencing data. Consistently, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, and Deferribacteres emerged as the major phyla. Based on NCBI taxonomy, Muribaculaceae, Lachnospiraceae, and Deferribacteraceae were the predominant families identified in each phylum. The genes for carbohydrate metabolism were upregulated in Muribaculaceae, while genes for cofactors and vitamin metabolism and amino acid metabolism were upregulated in Deferribacteraceae. The genes for translation were commonly enhanced in all three families. Notably, combined analysis of metagenomic and metatranscriptomic sequencing data revealed that the functions of translation and metabolism were largely upregulated in all three families in the mouse gut environment. The ratio of the genes in the metagenome and their expression in the metatranscriptome indicated higher expression of carbohydrate metabolism in Muribaculum, Duncaniella, and Mucispirillum. CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrated a fundamental methodology for linking genomic and transcriptomic datasets to examine functional activities of specific bacterial species in a complicated microbial environment. We investigated the normal flora of the mouse gut using three different approaches and identified Muribaculaceae, Lachnospiraceae, and Deferribacteraceae as the predominant families. The functional distribution of these families was reflected in the entire microbiome. By comparing the metagenomic and metatranscriptomic data, we found that the expression rates differed for different functional categories in the mouse gut environment. Application of these methods to track microbial transcription in individuals over time, or before and after administration of a specific stimulus will significantly facilitate future development of diagnostics and treatments.
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1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > BioMedical Science Institute (의생명과학부) > 1. Journal Papers
Yonsei Authors
Ryu, Ji Hwan(유지환)
Chung, Youn Wook(정연욱) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4382-1410
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