Diversity, metabolism and microbial ecology of butyrate-producing bacteria from the human large intestine

Petra Louis (Corresponding Author), Harry James Flint

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review

582 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Butyrate-producing bacteria play a key role in colonic health in humans. This review provides an overview of the current knowledge of the diversity, metabolism and microbial ecology of this functionally important group of bacteria. Human colonic butyrate producers are Gram-positive firmicutes, but are phylogenetically diverse, with the two most abundant groups related to Eubacterium rectale/Roseburia spp. and to Faecalibacterium prausnitzii. Five different arrangements have been identified for the genes of the central pathway involved in butyrate synthesis, while in most cases butyryl-CoA : acetate CoA-transferase, rather than butyrate kinase, appears to perform the final step in butyrate synthesis. Mechanisms have been proposed recently in non-gut Clostridium spp. whereby butyrate synthesis can result in energy generation via both substrate-level phosphorylation and proton gradients. Here we suggest that these mechanisms also apply to the majority of butyrate producers from the human colon. The roles of these bacteria in the gut community and their influence on health are now being uncovered, taking advantage of the availability of cultured isolates and molecular methodologies. Populations of F. prausnitzii are reported to be decreased in Crohn's disease, for example, while populations of Roseburia relatives appear to be particularly sensitive to the diet composition in human volunteer studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalFEMS Microbiology Letters
Volume294
Issue number1
Early online date13 Feb 2009
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2009

Keywords

  • butyrate
  • large intestine
  • gut health
  • colonic microbiota
  • anaerobic metabolism
  • human colonic microbiota
  • conjugated linoleic-acid
  • ribosomal-RNA gene
  • human gut bacteria
  • human fecal flora
  • human feces
  • faecalibacterium prausnitzii
  • bifidobacterium-adolescentis
  • fusobacterium-prausnitzii
  • roseburia-inulinivorans

Cite this

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title = "Diversity, metabolism and microbial ecology of butyrate-producing bacteria from the human large intestine",
abstract = "Butyrate-producing bacteria play a key role in colonic health in humans. This review provides an overview of the current knowledge of the diversity, metabolism and microbial ecology of this functionally important group of bacteria. Human colonic butyrate producers are Gram-positive firmicutes, but are phylogenetically diverse, with the two most abundant groups related to Eubacterium rectale/Roseburia spp. and to Faecalibacterium prausnitzii. Five different arrangements have been identified for the genes of the central pathway involved in butyrate synthesis, while in most cases butyryl-CoA : acetate CoA-transferase, rather than butyrate kinase, appears to perform the final step in butyrate synthesis. Mechanisms have been proposed recently in non-gut Clostridium spp. whereby butyrate synthesis can result in energy generation via both substrate-level phosphorylation and proton gradients. Here we suggest that these mechanisms also apply to the majority of butyrate producers from the human colon. The roles of these bacteria in the gut community and their influence on health are now being uncovered, taking advantage of the availability of cultured isolates and molecular methodologies. Populations of F. prausnitzii are reported to be decreased in Crohn's disease, for example, while populations of Roseburia relatives appear to be particularly sensitive to the diet composition in human volunteer studies.",
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AU - Flint, Harry James

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N2 - Butyrate-producing bacteria play a key role in colonic health in humans. This review provides an overview of the current knowledge of the diversity, metabolism and microbial ecology of this functionally important group of bacteria. Human colonic butyrate producers are Gram-positive firmicutes, but are phylogenetically diverse, with the two most abundant groups related to Eubacterium rectale/Roseburia spp. and to Faecalibacterium prausnitzii. Five different arrangements have been identified for the genes of the central pathway involved in butyrate synthesis, while in most cases butyryl-CoA : acetate CoA-transferase, rather than butyrate kinase, appears to perform the final step in butyrate synthesis. Mechanisms have been proposed recently in non-gut Clostridium spp. whereby butyrate synthesis can result in energy generation via both substrate-level phosphorylation and proton gradients. Here we suggest that these mechanisms also apply to the majority of butyrate producers from the human colon. The roles of these bacteria in the gut community and their influence on health are now being uncovered, taking advantage of the availability of cultured isolates and molecular methodologies. Populations of F. prausnitzii are reported to be decreased in Crohn's disease, for example, while populations of Roseburia relatives appear to be particularly sensitive to the diet composition in human volunteer studies.

AB - Butyrate-producing bacteria play a key role in colonic health in humans. This review provides an overview of the current knowledge of the diversity, metabolism and microbial ecology of this functionally important group of bacteria. Human colonic butyrate producers are Gram-positive firmicutes, but are phylogenetically diverse, with the two most abundant groups related to Eubacterium rectale/Roseburia spp. and to Faecalibacterium prausnitzii. Five different arrangements have been identified for the genes of the central pathway involved in butyrate synthesis, while in most cases butyryl-CoA : acetate CoA-transferase, rather than butyrate kinase, appears to perform the final step in butyrate synthesis. Mechanisms have been proposed recently in non-gut Clostridium spp. whereby butyrate synthesis can result in energy generation via both substrate-level phosphorylation and proton gradients. Here we suggest that these mechanisms also apply to the majority of butyrate producers from the human colon. The roles of these bacteria in the gut community and their influence on health are now being uncovered, taking advantage of the availability of cultured isolates and molecular methodologies. Populations of F. prausnitzii are reported to be decreased in Crohn's disease, for example, while populations of Roseburia relatives appear to be particularly sensitive to the diet composition in human volunteer studies.

KW - butyrate

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KW - gut health

KW - colonic microbiota

KW - anaerobic metabolism

KW - human colonic microbiota

KW - conjugated linoleic-acid

KW - ribosomal-RNA gene

KW - human gut bacteria

KW - human fecal flora

KW - human feces

KW - faecalibacterium prausnitzii

KW - bifidobacterium-adolescentis

KW - fusobacterium-prausnitzii

KW - roseburia-inulinivorans

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DO - 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2009.01514.x

M3 - Literature review

VL - 294

SP - 1

EP - 8

JO - FEMS Microbiology Letters

JF - FEMS Microbiology Letters

SN - 0378-1097

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ER -