An Atlas of β-Glucuronidases in the Human Intestinal Microbiome

Structure. 2017 Jul 5;25(7):967-977.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.str.2017.05.003. Epub 2017 Jun 1.


Microbiome-encoded β-glucuronidase (GUS) enzymes play important roles in human health by metabolizing drugs in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The numbers, types, and diversity of these proteins in the human GI microbiome, however, remain undefined. We present an atlas of GUS enzymes comprehensive for the Human Microbiome Project GI database. We identify 3,013 total and 279 unique microbiome-encoded GUS proteins clustered into six unique structural categories. We assign their taxonomy, assess cellular localization, reveal the inter-individual variability within the 139 individuals sampled, and discover 112 novel microbial GUS enzymes. A representative in vitro panel of the most common GUS proteins by read abundances highlights structural and functional variabilities within the family, including their differential processing of smaller glucuronides and larger carbohydrates. These data provide a sequencing-to-molecular roadmap for examining microbiome-encoded enzymes essential to human health.

Keywords: Human Microbiome Project; X-ray crystallography; alpha-beta hydrolase; gastrointestinal microbiota; glycan metabolism.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry*
  • Bacterial Proteins / classification
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Glucuronidase / chemistry*
  • Glucuronidase / classification
  • Glucuronidase / genetics
  • Glucuronidase / metabolism
  • Humans


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Glucuronidase