Advancing functional and translational microbiome research using meta-omics approaches

Microbiome. 2019 Dec 6;7(1):154. doi: 10.1186/s40168-019-0767-6.


The gut microbiome has emerged as an important factor affecting human health and disease. The recent development of -omics approaches, including phylogenetic marker-based microbiome profiling, shotgun metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, metaproteomics, and metabolomics, has enabled efficient characterization of microbial communities. These techniques can provide strain-level taxonomic resolution of the taxa present in microbiomes, assess the potential functions encoded by the microbial community and quantify the metabolic activities occurring within a complex microbiome. The application of these meta-omics approaches to clinical samples has identified microbial species, metabolic pathways, and metabolites that are associated with the development and treatment of human diseases. These findings have further facilitated microbiome-targeted drug discovery and efforts to improve human health management. Recent in vitro and in vivo investigations have uncovered the presence of extensive drug-microbiome interactions. These interactions have also been shown to be important contributors to the disparate patient responses to treatment that are often observed during disease therapy. Therefore, developing techniques or frameworks that enable rapid screening, detailed evaluation, and accurate prediction of drug/host-microbiome interactions is critically important in the modern era of microbiome research and precision medicine. Here we review the current status of meta-omics techniques, including integrative multi-omics approaches, for characterizing the microbiome's functionality in the context of health and disease. We also summarize and discuss new frameworks for applying meta-omics approaches and microbiome assays to study drug-microbiome interactions. Lastly, we discuss and exemplify strategies for implementing microbiome-based precision medicines using these meta-omics approaches and high throughput microbiome assays.

Keywords: Drug-microbiome interactions; Host-microbiome interactions; Meta-omics; Microbiome; Microbiome assay; Multi-omics; Personalized medicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Host Microbial Interactions
  • Humans
  • Metabolomics / methods*
  • Metagenomics / methods*
  • Precision Medicine / methods*
  • Proteomics / methods*