Metagenomic analysis of microbe-mediated vitamin metabolism in the human gut microbiome

Promi Das, Parizad Babaei, Jens Nielsen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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BackgroundHuman gut microbial communities have been known to produce vitamins, which are subsequently absorbed by the host in the large intestine. However, the relationship between species with vitamin pathway associated functional features or their gene abundance in different states of health and disease is lacking. Here, we analyzed shotgun fecal metagenomes of individuals from four different countries for genes that are involved in vitamin biosynthetic pathways and transport mechanisms and corresponding species' abundance.ResultsWe found that the prevalence of these genes were found to be distributed across the dominant phyla of gut species. The number of positive correlations were high between species harboring genes related to vitamin biosynthetic pathways and transporter mechanisms than that with either alone. Although, the range of total gene abundances remained constant across healthy populations at the global level, species composition and their presence for metabolic pathway related genes determine the abundance and functional genetic content of vitamin metabolism. Based on metatranscriptomics data, the equation between abundance of vitamin-biosynthetic enzymes and vitamin-dependent enzymes suggests that the production and utilization potential of these enzymes seems way more complex usage allocations than just mere direct linear associations.ConclusionsOur findings provide a rationale to examine and disentangle the interrelationship between B-vitamin dosage (dietary or microbe-mediated) on gut microbial members and the host, in the gut microbiota of individuals with under- or overnutrition.
Original languageEnglish
Article number208
JournalBMC Genomics
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • B-vitamins
  • Gut metabolism
  • Metagenomics
  • Metatranscriptomics
  • Vitamin prototrophs
  • Vitamin consumers


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