Metabolic mechanisms of interaction within a defined gut microbiota

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Title: Metabolic mechanisms of interaction within a defined gut microbiota
Authors: Medlock, GL
Carey, M
McDuffie, D
Mundy, M
Giallourou, N
Swann, J
Kolling, G
Papin, J
Item Type: Working Paper
Abstract: Metabolic interactions among species are ubiquitous in nature, and the fitness costs and benefits they impose often reinforce and stabilize them over time. These interactions are of particular importance in the human gut, where they have functions ranging from enhancing digestion to preventing (or exacerbating) infections. The diversity and sheer number of species present lead to the potential for a multitude of metabolic interactions among species to occur. However, identifying the mechanism and consequences of metabolic interactions between even two species is incredibly challenging. Here, we develop, apply, and experimentally test a framework for identifying potential metabolic mechanisms associated with interspecies interactions. We perform pairwise growth and metabolome profiling of co-cultures of strains from the altered Schaedler flora (ASF), a defined murine microbiota. We then apply our novel framework, which we call the Constant Yield Expectation (ConYE) model, to dissect emergent metabolic behaviors that occur in co-culture. Using the ConYE model, we identify and interrogate an amino acid cross-feeding interaction that is likely to confer a growth benefit to one ASF strain (Clostridium sp. ASF356) in co-culture with another strain (Parabacteroides goldsteinii ASF519). We experimentally validate that the proposed interaction leads to a growth benefit for this strain via media supplementation experiments. Our results reveal the type and extent of emergent metabolic behavior in microbial communities and demonstrate how metabolomic data can be used to identify potential metabolic interactions between organisms such as gut microbes. Our in vitro characterization of the ASF strains and interactions between them also enhances our ability to interpret and design experiments that utilize ASF-colonized animals. We anticipate that this work will improve the tractability of studies utilizing mice colonized with the ASF. Here, we focus on growth-modulating interactions, but the framework we develop can be applied to generate specific hypotheses about mechanisms of interspecies interaction involved in any phenotype of interest within a microbial community.
Issue Date: 27-Jan-2018
Publisher: bioRxiv
Copyright Statement: © 2018 The Author(s). This preprint is made available under a CC-BY 4.0 International license (
Sponsor/Funder: US National Institute of General Medical Science
Funder's Grant Number: Award No 5R01GM108501-03
Publication Status: Published
Appears in Collections:Division of Surgery
Faculty of Medicine

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