Stability of the human gut virome and effect of gluten-free diet

Cell Rep. 2021 May 18;35(7):109132. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109132.


The human gut microbiome consists of bacteria, archaea, eukaryotes, and viruses. The gut viruses are relatively underexplored. Here, we longitudinally analyzed the gut virome composition in 11 healthy adults: its stability, variation, and the effect of a gluten-free diet. Using viral enrichment and a de novo assembly-based approach, we demonstrate the quantitative dynamics of the gut virome, including dsDNA, ssDNA, dsRNA, and ssRNA viruses. We observe highly divergent individual viral communities, carrying on an average 2,143 viral genomes, 13.1% of which were present at all 3 time points. In contrast to previous reports, the Siphoviridae family dominates over Microviridae in studied individual viromes. We also show individual viromes to be stable at the family level but to vary substantially at the genera and species levels. Finally, we demonstrate that lower initial diversity of the human gut virome leads to a more pronounced effect of the dietary intervention on its composition.

Keywords: RNA viruses; bacteriophage; diversity; ecosystem resilience; gluten; gut; microbiome; viral-like particles; virome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Diet, Gluten-Free / methods*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Virome / immunology*