Spatial organization of intestinal microbiota in the mouse ascending colon

ISME J. 2011 Apr;5(4):627-38. doi: 10.1038/ismej.2010.161. Epub 2010 Oct 28.


Complex microbial populations are organized in relation to their environment. In the intestine, the inner lining (mucosa) is a potential focal point for such organization. The proximal murine colon contains mucosal folds that are known to be associated with morphologically distinct microbes. To identify these microbes, we used the technique of laser capture microdissection (LCM) to sample microbes associated with these folds (interfold region) and within the central lumen (digesta region). Using 16S rRNA gene tag pyrosequencing, we found that microbes in the interfold region were highly enriched for the phylum Firmicutes and, more specifically, for the families Lachnospiraceae and Ruminococcaceae. Other families such as Bacteroidaceae, Enterococcaceae and Lactobacillaceae were all enriched in the digesta region. This high-resolution system to capture and examine spatial organization of intestinal microbes should facilitate microbial analysis in other mouse models, furthering our understanding of host-microbial interactions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Colon, Ascending / anatomy & histology
  • Colon, Ascending / microbiology*
  • Genes, rRNA
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / classification
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / genetics
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Metagenome
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL