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Cell Host Microbe. 2018 Jul 11;24(1):120-132.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2018.06.002. Epub 2018 Jun 28.

The Stringent Response Determines the Ability of a Commensal Bacterium to Survive Starvation and to Persist in the Gut.

Author information

1
Department of Microbial Pathogenesis and Microbial Sciences Institute, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06536, USA.
2
Department of Microbial Pathogenesis and Microbial Sciences Institute, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06536, USA. Electronic address: andrew.goodman@yale.edu.

Abstract

In the mammalian gut, bacteria compete for resources to maintain their populations, but the factors determining their success are poorly understood. We report that the human gut bacterium Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron relies on the stringent response, an intracellular signaling pathway that allocates resources away from growth, to survive carbon starvation and persist in the gut. Genome-scale transcriptomics, 13C-labeling, and metabolomics analyses reveal that B. thetaiotaomicron uses the alarmone (p)ppGpp to repress multiple biosynthetic pathways and upregulate tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle genes in these conditions. During carbon starvation, (p)ppGpp triggers accumulation of the metabolite alpha-ketoglutarate, which itself acts as a metabolic regulator; alpha-ketoglutarate supplementation restores viability to a (p)ppGpp-deficient strain. These studies uncover how commensal bacteria adapt to the gut by modulating central metabolism and reveal that halting rather than accelerating growth can be a determining factor for membership in the gut microbiome.

KEYWORDS:

(p)ppGpp; Bacteroides; carbon starvation; commensal; metabolomics; microbiome; stringent response; transcriptomics

PMID:
30008292
PMCID:
PMC6086485
DOI:
10.1016/j.chom.2018.06.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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