A Genetically Adaptable Strategy for Ribose Scavenging in a Human Gut Symbiont Plays a Diet-Dependent Role in Colon Colonization
54 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2019 Sneak Peek Status: Review CompleteMore...
Efficient nutrient acquisition in the competitive human gut is essential for microbial persistence. While polysaccharides have been well-studied nutrients for the gut microbiome, other resources such as co-factors and nucleic acids have been less examined. We describe a series of ribose utilization systems (RUSs) that are broadly represented in Bacteroidetes and appear to have diversified to allow access to ribose from a variety of substrates. One Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron RUS variant is critical for competitive gut colonization in a diet-specific fashion. Using molecular genetics, we probed the nature of the ribose source underlying this dietspecific phenotype, revealing that hydrolytic functions in RUS (e.g., to cleave ribonucleosides) are present but dispensable. Instead, ribokinases that are activated in vivo and participate in cellular ribose-phosphate metabolism are essential. Our results underscore the extensive mechanisms that gut symbionts have evolved to access nutrients and how metabolic context determines the impact of these functions in vivo
Keywords: symbiosis, mutualist, microbiome, nutrient acquisition, Bacteroides
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