Global profiling of carbohydrate active enzymes in human gut microbiome

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MOTIVATION: Carbohydrate Active enzyme (CAZyme) families, encoded by human gut microflora, play a crucial role in breakdown of complex dietary carbohydrates into components that can be absorbed by our intestinal epithelium. Since nutritionalwellbeing of an individual is dependent on the nutrient harvesting capability of the gut microbiome, it is important to understand how CAZymerepertoire in the gut is influenced by factors like age, geography and food habits. RESULTS: This study reports a comprehensive in-silico analysis of CAZyme profiles in the gut microbiomes of 448 individuals belonging to different geographies, using similarity searches of the corresponding gut metagenomic contigs against the carbohydrate active enzymes database. The study identifies a core group of 89 CAZyme families that are present across 85% of the gut microbiomes. The study detects several geography/age-specific trends in gut CAZyme repertoires of the individuals. Notably, a group of CAZymes having a positive correlation with BMI has been identified. Further this group of BMI-associated CAZymes is observed to be specifically abundant in the Firmicutes phyla. One of the major findings from this study is identification of three distinct groups of individuals, referred to as 'CAZotypes', having similar CAZyme profiles. Distinct taxonomic drivers for these CAZotypes as well as the probable dietary basis for such trends have also been elucidated. The results of this study provide a global view of CAZyme profiles across individuals of various geographies and age-groups. These results re-iterate the need of a more precise understanding of the role of carbohydrate active enzymes in human nutrition.




Bhattacharya, T., Ghosh, T. S., & Mande, S. S. (2015). Global profiling of carbohydrate active enzymes in human gut microbiome. PLoS ONE, 10(11).

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