Antibiotics create a shift from mutualism to competition in human gut communities with a longer-lasting impact on fungi than bacteria

Bastian Seelbinder, Jiarui Chen, Sascha Brunke, Ruben Vazquez-Uribe, Rakesh Santhaman, Anne Christin Meyer, Felipe Senne De Oliveira Lino, Ka Fai Chan, Daniel Loos, Lejla Imamovic, Chi Ching Tsang, Rex Pui Kin Lam, Siddharth Sridhar, Kang Kang, Bernhard Hube, Patrick Chiu Yat Woo, Morten Otto Alexander Sommer, Gianni Panagiotou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Background: Antibiotic treatment has a well-established detrimental effect on the gut bacterial composition, but effects on the fungal community are less clear. Bacteria in the lumen of the gastrointestinal tract may limit fungal colonization and invasion. Antibiotic drugs targeting bacteria are therefore seen as an important risk factor for fungal infections and induced allergies. However, antibiotic effects on gut bacterial-fungal interactions, including disruption and resilience of fungal community compositions, were not investigated in humans. We analysed stool samples collected from 14 healthy human participants over 3 months following a 6-day antibiotic administration. We integrated data from shotgun metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, metabolomics, and fungal ITS2 sequencing. Results: While the bacterial community recovered mostly over 3 months post treatment, the fungal community was shifted from mutualism at baseline to competition. Half of the bacterial-fungal interactions present before drug intervention had disappeared 3 months later. During treatment, fungal abundances were associated with the expression of bacterial genes with functions for cell growth and repair. By extending the metagenomic species approach, we revealed bacterial strains inhibiting the opportunistic fungal pathogen Candida albicans. We demonstrated in vitro how C. albicans pathogenicity and host cell damage might be controlled naturally in the human gut by bacterial metabolites such as propionate or 5-dodecenoate. Conclusions: We demonstrated that antibacterial drugs have long-term influence on the human gut mycobiome. While bacterial communities recovered mostly 30-days post antibacterial treatment, the fungal community was shifted from mutualism towards competition. [MediaObject not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Article number133
JournalMicrobiome
Volume8
Issue number1
ISSN2049-2618
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sep 2020

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