Instructor, Medicine - Infectious Diseases
Recent studies suggest that the microbiome has an impact on gestational health and outcome. However, characterization of the pregnancy-associated microbiome has largely relied on 16S rRNA gene amplicon-based surveys. Here, we describe an assembly-driven, metagenomics-based, longitudinal study of the vaginal, gut, and oral microbiomes in 292 samples from 10 subjects sampled every three weeks throughout pregnancy. Nonhuman sequences in the amount of 1.53 Gb were assembled into scaffolds, and functional genes were predicted for gene- and pathway-based analyses. Vaginal assemblies were binned into 97 draft quality genomes. Redundancy analysis (RDA) of microbial community composition at all three body sites revealed gestational age to be a significant source of variation in patterns of gene abundance. In addition, health complications were associated with variation in community functional gene composition in the mouth and gut. The diversity of Lactobacillus iners-dominated communities in the vagina, unlike most other vaginal community types, significantly increased with gestational age. The genomes of co-occurring Gardnerella vaginalis strains with predicted distinct functions were recovered in samples from two subjects. In seven subjects, gut samples contained strains of the same Lactobacillus species that dominated the vaginal community of that same subject and not other Lactobacillus species; however, these within-host strains were divergent. CRISPR spacer analysis suggested shared phage and plasmid populations across body sites and individuals. This work underscores the dynamic behavior of the microbiome during pregnancy and suggests the potential importance of understanding the sources of this behavior for fetal development and gestational outcome.
View details for PubMedID 30232199
The vast majority of bacterial diversity lies within phylum-level lineages called "candidate phyla," which lack isolated representatives and are poorly understood. These bacteria are surprisingly abundant in the oral cavity of marine mammals. We employed a genome-resolved metagenomic approach to recover and characterize genomes and functional potential from microbes in the oral gingival sulcus of two bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). We detected organisms from 24 known bacterial phyla and one archaeal phylum. We also recovered genomes from two deep-branching, previously uncharacterized phylum-level lineages (here named "Candidatus Delphibacteria" and "Candidatus Fertabacteria"). The Delphibacteria lineage is found in both managed and wild dolphins; its metabolic profile suggests a capacity for denitrification and a possible role in dolphin health. We uncovered a rich diversity of predicted Cas9 proteins, including the two longest predicted Cas9 proteins to date. Notably, we identified the first type II CRISPR-Cas systems encoded by members of the Candidate Phyla Radiation. Using their spacer sequences, we subsequently identified and assembled a complete Saccharibacteria phage genome. These findings underscore the immense microbial diversity and functional potential that await discovery in previously unexplored environments.
View details for PubMedID 29153320
Preterm birth (PTB) is the leading cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality. Previous studies have suggested that the maternal vaginal microbiota contributes to the pathophysiology of PTB, but conflicting results in recent years have raised doubts. We conducted a study of PTB compared with term birth in two cohorts of pregnant women: one predominantly Caucasian (n = 39) at low risk for PTB, the second predominantly African American and at high-risk (n = 96). We profiled the taxonomic composition of 2,179 vaginal swabs collected prospectively and weekly during gestation using 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Previously proposed associations between PTB and lower Lactobacillus and higher Gardnerella abundances replicated in the low-risk cohort, but not in the high-risk cohort. High-resolution bioinformatics enabled taxonomic assignment to the species and subspecies levels, revealing that Lactobacillus crispatus was associated with low risk of PTB in both cohorts, while Lactobacillus iners was not, and that a subspecies clade of Gardnerella vaginalis explained the genus association with PTB. Patterns of cooccurrence between L. crispatus and Gardnerella were highly exclusive, while Gardnerella and L. iners often coexisted at high frequencies. We argue that the vaginal microbiota is better represented by the quantitative frequencies of these key taxa than by classifying communities into five community state types. Our findings extend and corroborate the association between the vaginal microbiota and PTB, demonstrate the benefits of high-resolution statistical bioinformatics in clinical microbiome studies, and suggest that previous conflicting results may reflect the different risk profile of women of black race.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1705899114
View details for PubMedID 28847941
Despite the critical role of the human microbiota in health, our understanding of microbiota compositional dynamics during and after pregnancy is incomplete. We conducted a case-control study of 49 pregnant women, 15 of whom delivered preterm. From 40 of these women, we analyzed bacterial taxonomic composition of 3,767 specimens collected prospectively and weekly during gestation and monthly after delivery from the vagina, distal gut, saliva, and tooth/gum. Linear mixed-effects modeling, medoid-based clustering, and Markov chain modeling were used to analyze community temporal trends, community structure, and vaginal community state transitions. Microbiota community taxonomic composition and diversity remained remarkably stable at all four body sites during pregnancy (P > 0.05 for trends over time). Prevalence of a Lactobacillus-poor vaginal community state type (CST 4) was inversely correlated with gestational age at delivery (P = 0.0039). Risk for preterm birth was more pronounced for subjects with CST 4 accompanied by elevated Gardnerella or Ureaplasma abundances. This finding was validated with a set of 246 vaginal specimens from nine women (four of whom delivered preterm). Most women experienced a postdelivery disturbance in the vaginal community characterized by a decrease in Lactobacillus species and an increase in diverse anaerobes such as Peptoniphilus, Prevotella, and Anaerococcus species. This disturbance was unrelated to gestational age at delivery and persisted for up to 1 y. These findings have important implications for predicting premature labor, a major global health problem, and for understanding the potential impact of a persistent, altered postpartum microbiota on maternal health, including outcomes of pregnancies following short interpregnancy intervals.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1502875112
View details for Web of Science ID 000360383200068