A functional ecological network based on metaproteomics responses of individual gut microbiomes to resistant starches

Comput Struct Biotechnol J. 2020 Nov 28;18:3833-3842. doi: 10.1016/j.csbj.2020.10.042. eCollection 2020.


Resistant starches (RS) are dietary compounds processed by the gut microbiota into metabolites, such as butyrate, that are beneficial to the host. The production of butyrate by the microbiome appears to be affected by the plant source and type of RS as well as the individual's microbiota. In this study, we used in vitro culture and metaproteomic methods to explore individual microbiome's functional responses to RS2 (enzymatically-resistant starch), RS3 (retrograded starch) and RS4 (chemically-modified starch). Results showed that RS2 and RS3 significantly altered the protein expressions in the individual gut microbiomes, while RS4 did not result in significant protein changes. Significantly elevated protein groups were enriched in carbohydrate metabolism and transport functions of families Eubacteriaceae, Lachnospiraceae and Ruminococcaceae. In addition, Bifidobacteriaceae was significantly increased in response to RS3. We also observed taxon-specific enrichments of starch metabolism and pentose phosphate pathways corresponding to this family. Functions related to starch utilization, ABC transporters and pyruvate metabolism pathways were consistently increased in the individual microbiomes in response to RS2 and RS3. Given that these taxon-specific responses depended on the type of carbohydrate sources, we constructed a functional ecological network to gain a system-level insight of functional organization. Our results suggest that while some microbes tend to be functionally independent, there are subsets of microbes that are functionally co-regulated by environmental changes, potentially by alterations of trophic interactions.

Keywords: Functional network; Gut microbiome; Metaproteomics; Resistant starch.