• Beneficial modulation of the gut microbiota

      Walsh, Calum J.; Guinane, Caitriona M.; O'Toole, Paul W.; Cotter, Paul D.; Science Foundation Ireland; 11/PI/1137 (Elsevier, 26/03/2014)
      The human gut microbiota comprises approximately 100 trillion microbial cells and has a significant effect on many aspects of human physiology including metabolism, nutrient absorption and immune function. Disruption of this population has been implicated in many conditions and diseases, including examples such as obesity, inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer that are highlighted in this review. A logical extension of these observations suggests that the manipulation of the gut microbiota can be employed to prevent or treat these conditions. Thus, here we highlight a variety of options, including the use of changes in diet (including the use of prebiotics), antimicrobial-based intervention, probiotics and faecal microbiota transplantation, and discuss their relative merits with respect to modulating the intestinal community in a beneficial way.
    • Evaluation of methods for the reduction of contaminating host reads when performing shotgun metagenomic sequencing of the milk microbiome

      Yap, Min; Feehily, Conor; Walsh, Calum J.; Fenelon, Mark; Murphy, Eileen F.; McAuliffe, Fionnuala M.; van Sinderen, Douwe; O’Toole, Paul W.; O’Sullivan, Orla; Cotter, Paul D.; et al. (Springer, 2020-12-10)
      Shotgun metagenomic sequencing is a valuable tool for the taxonomic and functional profiling of microbial communities. However, this approach is challenging in samples, such as milk, where a low microbial abundance, combined with high levels of host DNA, result in inefficient and uneconomical sequencing. Here we evaluate approaches to deplete host DNA or enrich microbial DNA prior to sequencing using three commercially available kits. We compared the percentage of microbial reads obtained from each kit after shotgun metagenomic sequencing. Using bovine and human milk samples, we determined that host depletion with the MolYsis complete5 kit significantly improved microbial sequencing depth compared to other approaches tested. Importantly, no biases were introduced. Additionally, the increased microbial sequencing depth allowed for further characterization of the microbiome through the generation of metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs). Furthermore, with the use of a mock community, we compared three common classifiers and determined that Kraken2 was the optimal classifier for these samples. This evaluation shows that microbiome analysis can be performed on both bovine and human milk samples at a much greater resolution without the need for more expensive deep-sequencing approaches.
    • In silico identification of bacteriocin gene clusters in the gastrointestinal tract, based on the Human Microbiome Project’s reference genome database

      Walsh, Calum J.; Guinane, Caitriona M.; Hill, Colin; Ross, R Paul; O'Toole, Paul W.; Cotter, Paul D.; Science Foundation Ireland; SFI/11/PI/1137 (Biomed Central, 16/09/2015)
      Background The human gut microbiota comprises approximately 100 trillion microbial cells which significantly impact many aspects of human physiology - including metabolism, nutrient absorption and immune function. Disturbances in this population have been implicated in many conditions and diseases, including obesity, type-2 diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease. This suggests that targeted manipulation or shaping of the gut microbiota, by bacteriocins and other antimicrobials, has potential as a therapeutic tool for the prevention or treatment of these conditions. With this in mind, several studies have used traditional culture-dependent approaches to successfully identify bacteriocin-producers from the mammalian gut. In silico-based approaches to identify novel gene clusters are now also being utilised to take advantage of the vast amount of data currently being generated by next generation sequencing technologies. In this study, we employed an in silico screening approach to mine potential bacteriocin clusters in genome-sequenced isolates from the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). More specifically, the bacteriocin genome-mining tool BAGEL3 was used to identify potential bacteriocin producers in the genomes of the GIT subset of the Human Microbiome Project’s reference genome database. Each of the identified gene clusters were manually annotated and potential bacteriocin-associated genes were evaluated. Results We identified 74 clusters of note from 59 unique members of the Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria, Fusobacteria and Synergistetes. The most commonly identified class of bacteriocin was the >10 kDa class, formerly known as bacteriolysins, followed by lantibiotics and sactipeptides. Conclusions Multiple bacteriocin gene clusters were identified in a dataset representative of the human gut microbiota. Interestingly, many of these were associated with species and genera which are not typically associated with bacteriocin production.