Effects of a gut pathobiont in a gnotobiotic mouse model of childhood undernutrition

Vitas E. Wagner, Neelendu Dey, Janaki Guruge, Ansel Hsiao, Philip P. Ahern, Nicholas P. Semenkovich, Laura V. Blanton, Jiye Cheng, Nicholas Griffin, Thaddeus Stappenbeck, Olga Ilkayeva, Christopher B. Newgard, William Petri, Rashidul Haque, Tahmeed Ahmed, Jeffrey I. Gordon

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43 Scopus citations


To model how interactions among enteropathogens and gut microbial community members contribute to undernutrition, we colonized gnotobiotic mice fed representative Bangladeshi diets with sequenced bacterial strains cultured from the fecal microbiota of two 24-month-old Bangladeshi children: one healthy and the other underweight. The undernourished donor's bacterial collection contained an enterotoxigenic Bacteroides fragilis strain (ETBF), whereas the healthy donor's bacterial collection contained two nontoxigenic strains of B. fragilis (NTBF). Analyses of mice harboring either the unmanipulated culture collections or systematically manipulated versions revealed that ETBF was causally related to weight loss in the context of its native community but not when introduced into the healthy donor's community. This phenotype was transmissible from the dams to their offspring and was associated with derangements in host energy metabolism manifested by impaired tricarboxylic acid cycle activity and decreased acyl-coenzyme A utilization. NTBF reduced ETBF's expression of its enterotoxin and mitigated the effects of ETBF on the transcriptomes of other healthy donor community members. These results illustrate how intraspecific (ETBF-NTBF) and interspecific interactions influence the effects of harboring B. fragilis.2016

Original languageEnglish
Article number4669
JournalScience translational medicine
Issue number366
StatePublished - Nov 23 2016


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