• Analysis of factors contributing to variation in the C57BL/6J fecal microbiota across German animal facilities.

      Rausch, Philipp; Basic, Marijana; Batra, Arvind; Bischoff, Stephan C; Blaut, Michael; Clavel, Thomas; Gläsner, Joachim; Gopalakrishnan, Shreya; Grassl, Guntram A; Günther, Claudia; et al. (2016-08)
      The intestinal microbiota is involved in many physiological processes and it is increasingly recognized that differences in community composition can influence the outcome of a variety of murine models used in biomedical research. In an effort to describe and account for the variation in intestinal microbiota composition across the animal facilities of participating members of the DFG Priority Program 1656 "Intestinal Microbiota", we performed a survey of C57BL/6J mice from 21 different mouse rooms/facilities located at 13 different institutions across Germany. Fresh feces was sampled from five mice per room/facility using standardized procedures, followed by extraction and 16S rRNA gene profiling (V1-V2 region, Illumina MiSeq) at both the DNA and RNA (reverse transcribed to cDNA) level. In order to determine the variables contributing to bacterial community differences, we collected detailed questionnaires of animal husbandry practices and incorporated this information into our analyses. We identified considerable variation in a number of descriptive aspects including the proportions of major phyla, alpha- and beta diversity, all of which displayed significant associations to specific aspects of husbandry. Salient findings include a reduction in alpha diversity with the use of irradiated chow, an increase in inter-individual variability (beta diversity) with respect to barrier access and open cages and an increase in bacterial community divergence with time since importing from a vendor. We further observe a high degree of facility-level individuality, which is likely due to each facility harboring its own unique combination of multiple varying attributes of animal husbandry. While it is important to account and control for such differences between facilities, the documentation of such diversity may also serve as a valuable future resource for investigating the origins of microbial-driven host phenotypes.
    • An Integrated Metagenome Catalog Reveals New Insights into the Murine Gut Microbiome.

      Lesker, Till R; Durairaj, Abilash C; Gálvez, Eric J C; Lagkouvardos, Ilias; Baines, John F; Clavel, Thomas; Sczyrba, Alexander; McHardy, Alice C; Strowig, Till; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany.
      The complexity of host-associated microbial ecosystems requires host-specific reference catalogs to survey the functions and diversity of these communities. We generate a comprehensive resource, the integrated mouse gut metagenome catalog (iMGMC), comprising 4.6 million unique genes and 660 metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs), many (485 MAGs, 73%) of which are linked to reconstructed full-length 16S rRNA gene sequences. iMGMC enables unprecedented coverage and taxonomic resolution of the mouse gut microbiota; i.e., more than 92% of MAGs lack species-level representatives in public repositories (<95% ANI match). The integration of MAGs and 16S rRNA gene data allows more accurate prediction of functional profiles of communities than predictions based on 16S rRNA amplicons alone. Accompanying iMGMC, we provide a set of MAGs representing 1,296 gut bacteria obtained through complementary assembly strategies. We envision that integrated resources such as iMGMC, together with MAG collections, will enhance the resolution of numerous existing and future sequencing-based studies.
    • Sequence and cultivation study of Muribaculaceae reveals novel species, host preference, and functional potential of this yet undescribed family.

      Lagkouvardos, Ilias; Lesker, Till R; Hitch, Thomas C A; Gálvez, Eric J C; Smit, Nathiana; Neuhaus, Klaus; Wang, Jun; Baines, John F; Abt, Birte; Stecher, Bärbel; et al. (BioMedCentral, 2019-02-19)
      Bacteria within family S24-7 (phylum Bacteroidetes) are dominant in the mouse gut microbiota and detected in the intestine of other animals. Because they had not been cultured until recently and the family classification is still ambiguous, interaction with their host was difficult to study and confusion still exists regarding sequence data annotation. We investigated family S24-7 by combining data from large-scale 16S rRNA gene analysis and from functional and taxonomic studies of metagenomic and cultured species. A total of 685 species was inferred by full-length 16S rRNA gene sequence clustering. While many species could not be assigned ecological habitats (93,045 samples analyzed), the mouse was the most commonly identified host (average of 20% relative abundance and nine co-occurring species). Shotgun metagenomics allowed reconstruction of 59 molecular species, of which 34 were representative of the 16S rRNA gene-derived species clusters. In addition, cultivation efforts allowed isolating five strains representing three species, including two novel taxa. Genome analysis revealed that S24-7 spp. are functionally distinct from neighboring families and versatile with respect to complex carbohydrate degradation. We provide novel data on the diversity, ecology, and description of bacterial family S24-7, for which the name Muribaculaceae is proposed.