Metagenomic analysis of microbe-mediated vitamin metabolism in the human gut microbiome
Journal article, 2019
Human gut microbial communities have been known to produce vitamins, which are subsequently absorbed by the host in the large intestine. However, the relationship between species with vitamin pathway associated with functional features or their gene abundance in different states of health and disease is lacking. Here, we analyzed shotgun fecal metagenomes of individuals from four different countries for genes that are involved in vitamin biosynthetic pathways and transport mechanisms and corresponding species’ abundance.
We found that the prevalence of these genes was found to be distributed across the dominant phyla of gut species. The number of positive correlations was high between species harboring genes related to vitamin biosynthetic pathways and transporter mechanisms than that with either alone. Although the range of total gene abundances remained constant across healthy populations at the global level, species composition and their presence for metabolic pathway related genes determine the abundance and functional genetic content of vitamin metabolism. Based on metatranscriptomics data, the equation between the abundance of vitamin-biosynthetic enzymes and vitamin-dependent enzymes suggests that the production and utilization potential of these enzymes seems way more complex usage allocations than just mere direct linear associations.
Our findings provide a rationale to examine and disentangle the interrelationship between B-vitamin dosage (dietary or microbe-mediated) on gut microbial members and the host, in the gut microbiota of individuals with under- or overnutrition.