Dysbiotic Proteobacteria expansion: a microbial signature of epithelial dysfunction

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2017 Oct:39:1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2017.07.003. Epub 2017 Aug 4.


A balanced gut microbiota is important for health, but the mechanisms maintaining homeostasis are incompletely understood. Anaerobiosis of the healthy colon drives the composition of the gut microbiota towards a dominance of obligate anaerobes, while dysbiosis is often associated with a sustained increase in the abundance of facultative anaerobic Proteobacteria, indicative of a disruption in anaerobiosis. The colonic epithelium is hypoxic, but intestinal inflammation or antibiotic treatment increases epithelial oxygenation in the colon, thereby disrupting anaerobiosis to drive a dysbiotic expansion of facultative anaerobic Proteobacteria through aerobic respiration. These observations suggest a dysbiotic expansion of Proteobacteria is a potential diagnostic microbial signature of epithelial dysfunction, a hypothesis that could spawn novel preventative or therapeutic strategies for a broad spectrum of human diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Bacterial Infections / physiopathology
  • Colitis / microbiology
  • Colitis / physiopathology
  • Colon* / microbiology
  • Colon* / physiopathology
  • Dysbiosis*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa* / microbiology
  • Intestinal Mucosa* / physiopathology
  • Mice
  • Proteobacteria*