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Sci Rep. 2016 Mar 31;6:23745. doi: 10.1038/srep23745.

Analysis of the association between host genetics, smoking, and sputum microbiota in healthy humans.

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Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Division of Computer Science and Engineering, College of Engineering, Hanyang University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Department of Family Medicine, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Department of Family Medicine, Busan Paik Hospital, Inje University College of Medicine, Busan, Republic of Korea.
Center for Human and Environmental Microbiome, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
N-Bio, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.


Recent studies showing clear differences in the airway microbiota between healthy and diseased individuals shed light on the importance of the airway microbiota in health. Here, we report the associations of host genetics and lifestyles such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and physical activity with the composition of the sputum microbiota using 16S rRNA gene sequence data generated from 257 sputum samples of Korean twin-family cohort. By estimating the heritability of each microbial taxon, we found that several taxa, including Providencia and Bacteroides, were significantly influenced by host genetic factors. Smoking had the strongest effect on the overall microbial community structure among the tested lifestyle factors. The abundances of Veillonella and Megasphaera were higher in current-smokers, and increased with the pack-year value and the Fagerstrom Test of Nicotine Dependence (FTND) score. In contrast, Haemophilus decreased with the pack-year of smoking and the FTND score. Co-occurrence network analysis showed that the taxa were clustered according to the direction of associations with smoking, and that the taxa influenced by host genetics were found together. These results demonstrate that the relationships among sputum microbial taxa are closely associated with not only smoking but also host genetics.

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