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Nat Commun. 2015 Jun 26;6:7481. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8481.

Glycan complexity dictates microbial resource allocation in the large intestine.

Author information

1
Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences, The Medical School, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH, UK.
2
Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, Tennis Court Road, Cambridge CB2 1QW, UK.
3
Architecture et Fonction des Macromolécules Biologiques (AFMB), UMR 7257 CNRS, Université Aix-Marseille, 163 Avenue de Luminy, 13288 Marseille, France.
4
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA.
5
United States Department of Agriculture- Agricultural Research Service, Eastern Regional Research Center, 600 East Mermaid Lane, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania 19038, USA.
6
1] Architecture et Fonction des Macromolécules Biologiques (AFMB), UMR 7257 CNRS, Université Aix-Marseille, 163 Avenue de Luminy, 13288 Marseille, France [2] Department of Biological Sciences, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Abstract

The structure of the human gut microbiota is controlled primarily through the degradation of complex dietary carbohydrates, but the extent to which carbohydrate breakdown products are shared between members of the microbiota is unclear. We show here, using xylan as a model, that sharing the breakdown products of complex carbohydrates by key members of the microbiota, such as Bacteroides ovatus, is dependent on the complexity of the target glycan. Characterization of the extensive xylan degrading apparatus expressed by B. ovatus reveals that the breakdown of the polysaccharide by the human gut microbiota is significantly more complex than previous models suggested, which were based on the deconstruction of xylans containing limited monosaccharide side chains. Our report presents a highly complex and dynamic xylan degrading apparatus that is fine-tuned to recognize the different forms of the polysaccharide presented to the human gut microbiota.

PMID:
26112186
PMCID:
PMC4491172
DOI:
10.1038/ncomms8481
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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