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Diverse events have transferred genes for edible seaweed digestion from marine to human gut bacteria

Lookup NU author(s): Dr David Bolam


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© 2022 Elsevier Inc. Humans harbor numerous species of colonic bacteria that digest fiber polysaccharides in commonly consumed terrestrial plants. More recently in history, regional populations have consumed edible macroalgae seaweeds containing unique polysaccharides. It remains unclear how extensively gut bacteria have adapted to digest these nutrients. Here, we show that the ability of gut bacteria to digest seaweed polysaccharides is more pervasive than previously appreciated. Enrichment-cultured Bacteroides harbor previously discovered genes for seaweed degradation, which have mobilized into several members of this genus. Additionally, other examples of marine bacteria-derived genes, and their mobile DNA elements, are involved in gut microbial degradation of seaweed polysaccharides, including genes in gut-resident Firmicutes. Collectively, these results uncover multiple separate events that have mobilized the genes encoding seaweed-degrading-enzymes into gut bacteria. This work further underscores the metabolic plasticity of the human gut microbiome and global exchange of genes in the context of dietary selective pressures.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Pudlo NA, Pereira GV, Parnami J, Cid M, Markert S, Tingley JP, Unfried F, Ali A, Varghese NJ, Kim KS, Campbell A, Urs K, Xiao Y, Adams R, Martin D, Bolam DN, Becher D, Eloe-Fadrosh EA, Schmidt TM, Abbott DW, Schweder T, Hehemann JH, Martens EC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cell Host and Microbe

Year: 2022

Volume: 30

Issue: 3

Pages: 314-328.e11

Print publication date: 09/03/2022

Online publication date: 02/03/2022

Acceptance date: 02/02/2022

ISSN (print): 1931-3128

ISSN (electronic): 1934-6069

Publisher: Cell Press


DOI: 10.1016/j.chom.2022.02.001

PubMed id: 35240043


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