DOI: 10.1101/471110Nov 18, 2018Paper

Acquired interbacterial defense systems protect against interspecies antagonism in the human gut microbiome

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Benjamin D. RossJoseph Mougous


The impact of direct interactions between co-resident microbes on microbiome composition is not well understood. Here we report the occurrence of acquired interbacterial defense (AID) gene clusters in bacterial residents of the human gut microbiome. These clusters encode arrays of immunity genes that protect against type VI secretion toxin-mediated intra- and inter-species bacterial antagonism. Moreover, the clusters reside on mobile elements and we demonstrate that their transfer is sufficient to confer toxin resistance in vitro and in gnotobiotic mice. Finally, we identify and validate the protective capacity of a recombinase-associated AID subtype (rAID-1) present broadly in Bacteroidales genomes. These rAID-1 gene clusters have a structure suggestive of active gene acquisition and include predicted immunity factors of toxins deriving from diverse organisms. Our data suggest that neutralization of contact-dependent interbacterial antagonism via AID systems shapes human gut microbiome ecology.

Related Concepts

Gene Clusters
Laboratory mice
Subtype (Attribute)
AN 1

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