Researchers Find the "Killer" of the Gut Bacteria and Type II Diabetes
The gut microbiota has been recognized as a key contributor to human health increasingly. Various chronic human diseases can be linked to dysbiosis of the intestinal microbiota, such as type II diabetes. Bacteriophages are the killers of the gut bacteria by infecting and lysing their hosts and are thought to be the most abundant biological entities in the human gut. However, gut phage study remains challenging because of the extremely high diversity of the gut phage.
A research group led by Profs. MA Yingfei and LIU Chenli from Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences reported a study correlated the gut phages with type II diabetes.
The study substantially expands our understanding of the human gut phages through large-scale genome wide analysis by using bioinformatic pipleline developed in-house.
Instead of a reciprocal relationship of phage specific to its bacterial host, a complex core interaction among bacteria and phages was revealed. The primary significance of this study is that alterations of the gut phage is significantly specific to T2D and the T2D-associated changes in the phage community cannot simply be explained as co-variation with their altered bacterial hosts. Bacteriophages likely play roles in intestinal physiology that are far more important than the alteration of bacterial communities via killing their bacterial hosts. This study suggests that we should pay more attention to the role of the bacterial "killers" in human microbiome.
The paper entitled "A human gut phage catalog correlates the gut phageome with type 2 diabetes " has been published in Microbiome on February 1st, 2018. The research work has been supported by the Major National Nature Science Foundation of China, the Science and Technology Projects of Shenzhen, the Shenzhen Peacock Innovation Team and 973 program grant.
Fig 1. Analysis progress of human gut phages (Image by MA Yingfei)
Fig 2. Enomic sequences of the gut phages (Image by MA Yingfei)