Akkermansia muciniphila gen. nov., sp. nov., a human intestinal mucin-degrading bacterium

Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 2004 Sep;54(Pt 5):1469-1476. doi: 10.1099/ijs.0.02873-0.


The diversity of mucin-degrading bacteria in the human intestine was investigated by combining culture and 16S rRNA-dependent approaches. A dominant bacterium, strain MucT, was isolated by dilution to extinction of faeces in anaerobic medium containing gastric mucin as the sole carbon and nitrogen source. A pure culture was obtained using the anaerobic soft agar technique. Strain MucT was a Gram-negative, strictly anaerobic, non-motile, non-spore-forming, oval-shaped bacterium that could grow singly and in pairs. When grown on mucin medium, cells produced a capsule and were found to aggregate. Strain MucT could grow on a limited number of sugars, including N-acetylglucosamine, N-acetylgalactosamine and glucose, but only when a protein source was provided and with a lower growth rate and final density than on mucin. The G + C content of DNA from strain MucT was 47.6 mol%. 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis revealed that the isolate was part of the division Verrucomicrobia. The closest described relative of strain MucT was Verrucomicrobium spinosum (92 % sequence similarity). Remarkably, the 16S rRNA gene sequence of strain MucT showed 99 % similarity to three uncultured colonic bacteria. According to the data obtained in this work, strain MucT represents a novel bacterium belonging to a new genus in subdivision 1 of the Verrucomicrobia; the name Akkermansia muciniphila gen. nov., sp. nov. is proposed; the type strain is MucT (= ATCC BAA-835T = CIP 107961T).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylgalactosamine / metabolism
  • Acetylglucosamine / metabolism
  • Bacterial Capsules / biosynthesis
  • Bacterial Capsules / ultrastructure
  • Base Composition
  • Carbon
  • Culture Media / chemistry
  • DNA, Bacterial / chemistry
  • DNA, Bacterial / isolation & purification
  • DNA, Ribosomal / chemistry
  • DNA, Ribosomal / isolation & purification
  • Feces / microbiology*
  • Gastric Mucins / metabolism*
  • Genes, rRNA / genetics
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Gram-Negative Anaerobic Bacteria / classification*
  • Gram-Negative Anaerobic Bacteria / genetics
  • Gram-Negative Anaerobic Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Gram-Negative Anaerobic Bacteria / physiology
  • Gram-Negative Anaerobic Bacteria / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Intestines / microbiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Movement
  • Nitrogen / metabolism
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Spores, Bacterial / cytology


  • Culture Media
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • DNA, Ribosomal
  • Gastric Mucins
  • RNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
  • Carbon
  • Glucose
  • Acetylgalactosamine
  • Nitrogen
  • Acetylglucosamine

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AY271254