Systems genetics approach uncovers associations between host amylase locus, gut microbiome and metabolic traits in hyperlipidemic mice

bioRxiv [Preprint]. 2024 Mar 3:2024.02.28.582610. doi: 10.1101/2024.02.28.582610.


The molecular basis for how host genetic variation impacts gut microbial community and bacterial metabolic niches remain largely unknown. We leveraged 90 inbred hyperlipidemic mouse strains from the Hybrid Mouse Diversity Panel (HMDP), previously studied for a variety of cardio-metabolic traits. Metagenomic analysis of cecal DNA followed by genome-wide association analysis identified genomic loci that were associated with microbial enterotypes in the gut. Among these we detected a genetic locus surrounding multiple amylase genes that was associated with abundances of Firmicutes (Lachnospiraceae family) and Bacteroidetes (Muribaculaceae family) taxa encoding distinct starch and sugar metabolism functions. We also found that lower amylase gene number in the mouse genome was associated with higher gut Muribaculaceae levels. Previous work suggests that modulation of host amylase activity impacts the availability of carbohydrates to the host and potentially to gut bacteria. The genetic variants described above were associated with distinct gut microbial communities (enterotypes) with different predicted metabolic capacities for carbohydrate degradation. Mendelian randomization analysis revealed host phenotypes, including liver fibrosis and plasma HDL-cholesterol levels, that were associated with gut microbiome enterotypes. This work reveals novel relationships between host genetic variation, gut microbial enterotypes and host physiology/disease phenotypes in mice.

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