Dynamic Modulation of the Gut Microbiota and Metabolome by Bacteriophages in a Mouse Model

Cell Host Microbe. 2019 Jun 12;25(6):803-814.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2019.05.001. Epub 2019 Jun 4.


The human gut microbiome is comprised of densely colonizing microorganisms including bacteriophages, which are in dynamic interaction with each other and the mammalian host. To address how bacteriophages impact bacterial communities in the gut, we investigated the dynamic effects of phages on a model microbiome. Gnotobiotic mice were colonized with defined human gut commensal bacteria and subjected to predation by cognate lytic phages. We found that phage predation not only directly impacts susceptible bacteria but also leads to cascading effects on other bacterial species via interbacterial interactions. Metabolomic profiling revealed that shifts in the microbiome caused by phage predation have a direct consequence on the gut metabolome. Our work provides insight into the ecological importance of phages as modulators of bacterial colonization, and it additionally suggests the potential impact of gut phages on the mammalian host with implications for their therapeutic use to precisely modulate the microbiome.

Keywords: bacteriophage; gut metabolome; gut microbiome; microbiota; phage resistance; phage therapy; virus.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteriolysis*
  • Bacteriophages / growth & development*
  • Feces / chemistry*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Germ-Free Life
  • Metabolome*
  • Mice
  • Microbial Interactions