Glycan foraging in vivo by an intestine-adapted bacterial symbiont

Justin L. Sonnenburg, Jian Xu, Douglas D. Leip, Chien Huan Chen, Benjamin P. Westover, Jeremy Weatherford, Jeremy D. Buhler, Jeffrey I. Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

792 Scopus citations

Abstract

Germ-free mice were maintained on polysaccharide-rich or simple-sugar diets and colonized for 10 days with an organism also found in human guts, Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, followed by whole-genome transcriptional profiling of bacteria and mass spectrometry of cecal glycans. We found that these bacteria assembled on food particles and mucus, selectively induced outer-membrane polysaccharide-binding proteins and glycoside hydrolases, prioritized the consumption of liberated hexose sugars, and revealed a capacity to turn to host mucus glycans when polysaccharides were absent from the diet. This flexible foraging behavior should contribute to ecosystem stability and functional diversity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1955-1959
Number of pages5
JournalScience
Volume307
Issue number5717
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 25 2005

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