Viruses in the faecal microbiota of monozygotic twins and their mothers

Alejandro Reyes, Matthew Haynes, Nicole Hanson, Florent E. Angly, Andrew C. Heath, Forest Rohwer, Jeffrey I. Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

776 Scopus citations

Abstract

Viral diversity and life cycles are poorly understood in the human gut and other body habitats. Phages and their encoded functions may provide informative signatures of a human microbiota and of microbial community responses to various disturbances, and may indicate whether community health or dysfunction is manifest after apparent recovery from a disease or therapeutic intervention. Here we report sequencing of the viromes (metagenomes) of virus-like particles isolated from faecal samples collected from healthy adult female monozygotic twins and their mothers at three time points over a one-year period. We compared these data sets with data sets of sequenced bacterial 16S ribosomal RNA genes and total-faecal-community DNA. Co-twins and their mothers share a significantly greater degree of similarity in their faecal bacterial communities than do unrelated individuals. In contrast, viromes are unique to individuals regardless of their degree of genetic relatedness. Despite remarkable interpersonal variations in viromes and their encoded functions, intrapersonal diversity is very low, with >95% of virotypes retained over the period surveyed, and with viromes dominated by a few temperate phages that exhibit remarkable genetic stability. These results indicate that a predatory viral-microbial dynamic, manifest in a number of other characterized environmental ecosystems, is notably absent in the very distal intestine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)334-338
Number of pages5
JournalNature
Volume466
Issue number7304
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 15 2010

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