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  1. Mairi McLean
  1. Division of Applied Medicine, Aberdeen University, Aberdeen, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Mairi McLean, University of Aberdeen, School of Medicine, Medical Sciences & Nutrition, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, UK; m.h.mclean{at}

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Bacteriophage in IBD

Duerkop BA, Kleiner M, Paez-Espino D, et al. Murine colitis reveals a disease-associated bacteriophage community. Nature Microbiology 2018. doi: 10.1038/s41564-018-0210-y. [Epub ahead of print 23 Jul 2018].

The majority of studies have focused on the bacterial component of the microbiota and its role in health and disease. In addition, the human gastrointestinal tract harbours a substantial compendium of viruses, with prokaryotic viruses, known as bacteriophages, numerically dominant. Bacteriophage numbers are known to increase in individuals with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), but there is limited understanding of the consequences of this or the effects of inflammation on bacteriophage communities. This study applied a metagenomics approach to study bacteriophage communities in an experimental mouse model of T-cell-mediated colitis. The authors demonstrate that intestinal bacteriophage communities undergo compositional shifts in the murine model, similar to that seen in patients with IBD. human IBD patients An expansion of bacteriophage subsets, frequently connected to their pathobiont hosts, was seen in animals with colitis. Further analysis suggests that particular bacteriophage (Spounaviridae) could serve as informative markers for colitis. They also unexpectedly detected an increased abundance of bacteriophages predicted to infect Streptococci or target Alistipes. Excision of the latent bacteriophage genome (or prophage) inserted into the bacterial chromosome is potentially driven by the presence of colitis and could therefore be a biomarker of disease. Overall, there is a need to further investigate bacteriophage involvement in intestinal diseases. The findings also show that experimental colitis in mice is a suitable model for assessing bacteriophage-bacterial interactions, as the murine bacteriophageome clearly overlaps with that seen in humans and appears to be influenced in a similar way by the presence of inflammation/colitis.

Defining the role of the gut microbiota in metabolic syndrome

Natividad JM, Agus A, Planchais J, et al. Impaired aryl hydrocarbon receptor ligand production by the gut microbiota is a key factor in metabolic syndrome. Cell …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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