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Nat Genet. 2014 Apr;46(4):336-44. doi: 10.1038/ng.2906. Epub 2014 Feb 23.

Pathogens and host immunity in the ancient human oral cavity.

Author information

1
1] Centre for Evolutionary Medicine, Institute of Anatomy, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland. [2] Department of Anthropology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA.
2
1] Institute of Molecular Life Sciences, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland. [2] Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, Lausanne, Switzerland.
3
Functional Genomics Center Zürich, University of Zürich/Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.
4
Centre for Evolutionary Medicine, Institute of Anatomy, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.
5
1] BioArCh, Department of Archaeology, University of York, York, UK. [2] University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS), School of Archaeology and Ancient History, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK.
6
Department of Physics, University of York, York, UK.
7
Department of Anthropology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA.
8
BioArCh, Department of Archaeology, University of York, York, UK.
9
Centre of Dental Medicine, Institute of Oral Biology, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.
10
1] Research Group on Plant Foods in Hominin Dietary Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany. [2] Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany. [3] Department of Prehistory and Archaeology, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain.
11
1] Research Group Neuro-Endocrine-Immune Interactions, Institute of Anatomy, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland. [2] Zürich Center for Integrative Human Physiology, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.
12
1] Department of Biology, Microbiology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark. [2] Department of Environmental Science, Aarhus Universitet, Roskilde, Denmark.
13
Centre for GeoGenetics, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
14
Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
15
1] Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Forsyth Institute, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. [2] Department of Oral Medicine, Infection and Immunity, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
16
1] Centre for GeoGenetics, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark. [2] Ancient DNA Laboratory, Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.
17
1] Centre for Evolutionary Medicine, Institute of Anatomy, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland. [2].
18
1] Centre for GeoGenetics, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark. [2].

Abstract

Calcified dental plaque (dental calculus) preserves for millennia and entraps biomolecules from all domains of life and viruses. We report the first, to our knowledge, high-resolution taxonomic and protein functional characterization of the ancient oral microbiome and demonstrate that the oral cavity has long served as a reservoir for bacteria implicated in both local and systemic disease. We characterize (i) the ancient oral microbiome in a diseased state, (ii) 40 opportunistic pathogens, (iii) ancient human-associated putative antibiotic resistance genes, (iv) a genome reconstruction of the periodontal pathogen Tannerella forsythia, (v) 239 bacterial and 43 human proteins, allowing confirmation of a long-term association between host immune factors, 'red complex' pathogens and periodontal disease, and (vi) DNA sequences matching dietary sources. Directly datable and nearly ubiquitous, dental calculus permits the simultaneous investigation of pathogen activity, host immunity and diet, thereby extending direct investigation of common diseases into the human evolutionary past.

PMID:
24562188
PMCID:
PMC3969750
DOI:
10.1038/ng.2906
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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