Gut mucosal microbes evolved closest to the host, developing specialized local communities. There is, however, insufficient knowledge of these communities as most studies have employed sequencing technologies to investigate faecal microbiota only.
This work used shotgun metagenomics of mucosal biopsies to explore the microbial communities’ compositions of terminal ileum and large intestine in 5 healthy individuals. Functional annotations and genome-scale metabolic modelling of selected species were then employed to identify local functional enrichments.
While faecal metagenomics provided a good approximation of the average gut mucosal microbiome composition, mucosal biopsies allowed detecting the subtle variations of local microbial communities. Given their significant enrichment in the mucosal microbiota, we highlight the roles of Bacteroides species and describe the antimicrobial resistance biogeography along the intestine.
We also detail which species, at which locations, are involved with the tryptophan/indole pathway, whose malfunctioning has been linked to pathologies including inflammatory bowel disease. Our study thus provides invaluable resources for investigating mechanisms connecting gut microbiota and host pathophysiology.
More information: Nature