Background: The fungal component of the human gut microbiome, also known as the mycobiome, plays a vital role in intestinal ecology and human health. However, the overall structure of the gut mycobiome as well as the inter-individual variations in fungal composition remains largely unknown. In this study, we collected a total of 3363 fungal sequencing samples from 16 cohorts across three continents, including 572 newly profiled samples from China.
Results: We identify and characterize four mycobiome enterotypes using ITS profiling of 3363 samples from 16 cohorts. These enterotypes exhibit stability across populations and geographical locations and significant correlation with bacterial enterotypes. Particularly, we notice that fungal enterotypes have a strong age preference, where the enterotype dominated by Candida (i.e., Can_type enterotype) is enriched in the elderly population and confers an increased risk of multiple diseases associated with a compromised intestinal barrier. In addition, bidirectional mediation analysis reveals that the fungi-contributed aerobic respiration pathway associated with the Can_type enterotype might mediate the association between the compromised intestinal barrier and aging.
Conclusions: We show that the human gut mycobiome has stable compositional patterns across individuals and significantly correlates with multiple host factors, such as diseases and host age. Video Abstract.
Keywords: Enterotype; Fungi; Gut mycobiome; ITS; Metagenomics.
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