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Glycan complexity dictates microbial resource allocation in the large intestine

DOI: 10.1038/ncomms8481 DOI Help
PMID: 26112186 PMID Help

Authors: Artur Rogowski (Newcastle University) , Jonathon A. Briggs (Newcastle University) , Jennifer C. Mortimer (University of Cambridge) , Theodora Tryfona (University of Cambridge) , Nicolas Terrapon (Université Aix-Marseille) , Elisabeth C. Lowe (Newcastle University) , Arnaud Baslé (Newcastle University) , Carl Morland (Newcastle University) , Alison M. Day (Newcastle University) , Hongjun Zheng (Newcastle University) , Theresa E. Rogers (University of Michigan Medical School) , Paul Thompson (Newcastle University) , Alastair R. Hawkins (Newcastle University) , Madhav P. Yadav (Eastern Regional Research Center) , Bernard Henrissat (Université Aix-Marseille) , Eric C. Martens (University of Michigan Medical School) , Paul Dupree (University of Cambridge) , Harry J. Gilbert (Newcastle University) , David N. Bolam (Newcastle University)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Nature Communications , VOL 6 , PAGES 7481

State: Published (Approved)
Published: June 2015

Open Access Open Access

Abstract: The structure of the human gut microbiota is controlled primarily through the degradation of complex dietary carbohydrates, but the extent to which carbohydrate breakdown products are shared between members of the microbiota is unclear. We show here, using xylan as a model, that sharing the breakdown products of complex carbohydrates by key members of the microbiota, such as Bacteroides ovatus, is dependent on the complexity of the target glycan. Characterization of the extensive xylan degrading apparatus expressed by B. ovatus reveals that the breakdown of the polysaccharide by the human gut microbiota is significantly more complex than previous models suggested, which were based on the deconstruction of xylans containing limited monosaccharide side chains. Our report presents a highly complex and dynamic xylan degrading apparatus that is fine-tuned to recognize the different forms of the polysaccharide presented to the human gut microbiota.

Journal Keywords: Biological Sciences; Biochemistry; Microbiology

Subject Areas: Biology and Bio-materials

Instruments: I02-Macromolecular Crystallography