Original Article

Subject Category: Microbial ecology and functional diversity of natural habitats

The ISME Journal (2013) 7, 615–621; doi:10.1038/ismej.2012.128; published online 15 November 2012

Comparative analysis of the distribution of segmented filamentous bacteria in humans, mice and chickens

Yeshi Yin1,7, Yu Wang1,2, Liying Zhu1, Wei Liu1, Ningbo Liao1, Mizu Jiang3, Baoli Zhu4, Hongwei D Yu5, Charlie Xiang6 and Xin Wang1

  1. 1State Key Laboratory of Breeding Base for Zhejiang Sustainable Pest and Disease Control, Institute of Plant Protection and Microbiology, Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
  2. 2College of Chemistry and Life Science, Zhejiang Normal University, JinHua, Zhejiang, China
  3. 3Department of Gastroenterology, Children’s Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
  4. 4CAS Key Laboratory of Pathogenic Microbiology and Immunology, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China
  5. 5Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Marshall University, Huntington, WV, USA
  6. 6State Key Laboratory for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, First Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

Correspondence: X Wang, State Key Laboratory of Breeding Base for Zhejiang Sustainable Pest and Disease Control, Institute of Plant Protection and Microbiology, Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, No. 198, Shiqiao Road, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310021, China. E-mail: xxww101@sina.com

7Current address: Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Marshall University, 1 John Marshall Drive, Huntington, WV 25755-9320, USA.

Received 10 April 2012; Revised 3 September 2012; Accepted 16 September 2012
Advance online publication 15 November 2012

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Abstract

Segmented filamentous bacteria (SFB) are indigenous gut commensal bacteria. They are commonly detected in the gastrointestinal tracts of both vertebrates and invertebrates. Despite the significant role they have in the modulation of the development of host immune systems, little information exists regarding the presence of SFB in humans. The aim of this study was to investigate the distribution and diversity of SFB in humans and to determine their phylogenetic relationships with their hosts. Gut contents from 251 humans, 92 mice and 72 chickens were collected for bacterial genomic DNA extraction and subjected to SFB 16S rRNA-specific PCR detection. The results showed SFB colonization to be age-dependent in humans, with the majority of individuals colonized within the first 2 years of life, but this colonization disappeared by the age of 3 years. Results of 16S rRNA sequencing showed that multiple operational taxonomic units of SFB could exist in the same individuals. Cross-species comparison among human, mouse and chicken samples demonstrated that each host possessed an exclusive predominant SFB sequence. In summary, our results showed that SFB display host specificity, and SFB colonization, which occurs early in human life, declines in an age-dependent manner.

Keywords:

distribution; diversity; phylogenetic relationships; segmented filamentous bacteria