Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Bacteroides fragilis


OBJECTIVE: To characterise the influence of diet on abdominal symptoms, anal gas evacuation, intestinal gas distribution and colonic microbiota in patients complaining of flatulence. DESIGN: Patients complaining of flatulence (n=30) and healthy subjects (n=20) were instructed to follow their usual diet for 3 days (basal phase) and to consume a high-flatulogenic diet for another 3 days (challenge phase). RESULTS: During basal phase, patients recorded more abdominal symptoms than healthy subjects in daily questionnaires (5.8±0.3 vs 0.4±0.2 mean discomfort/pain score, respectively; p=<0.0001) and more gas evacuations by an event marker (21.9±2.8 vs 7.4±1.0 daytime evacuations, respectively; p=0.0001), without differences in the volume of gas evacuated after a standard meal (262±22 and 265±25 mL, respectively). On flatulogenic diet, both groups recorded more abdominal symptoms (7.9±0.3 and 2.8±0.4 discomfort/pain, respectively), number of gas evacuations (44.4±5.3 and 21.7±2.9 daytime evacuations, respectively) and had more gas production (656±52 and 673±78 mL, respectively; p<0.05 vs basal diet for all). When challenged with flatulogenic diet, patients' microbiota developed instability in composition, exhibiting variations in the main phyla and reduction of microbial diversity, whereas healthy subjects' microbiota were stable. Taxa from Bacteroides fragilis or Bilophila wadsworthia correlated with number of gas evacuations or volume of gas evacuated, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Patients complaining of flatulence have a poor tolerance of intestinal gas, which is associated with instability of the microbial ecosystem.

Concepts: Bacteria, Gut flora, Fundamental physics concepts, Intestine, Flatulence, Plasma, Emergency evacuation, Bacteroides fragilis


In total 122 non-duplicate Bacteroides, Prevotella and Fusobacterium spp isolated from cancer patients between 2004 and 2014 were involved in this study. Most of the strains belonged to the B. fragilis group (55%), followed by Prevotella strains (34.4%) and Fusobacterium spp (10.6%). The species identification was carried out by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS), and they were identified on species level with a log (score) >2.0. The most common isolates were B. fragilis, B. thetaiotaomicron, B. ovatus and B. vulgatus. Among Prevotella species, the most frequently isolated species were P. buccae, P. buccalis, P. oris, P. denticola and P. nigrescens, and most of the Fusobacterium spp. were F. nucleatum. Susceptibilities of the strains were determined by the E-test methodology. The percentage of the susceptibility of B. fragilis group isolates were: metronidazole (MIC ≤ 4 μg/ml), 97%; imipenem (MIC ≤ 2 μg/ml), 95.5%; amoxicillin/clavulanate (MIC ≤ 4 μg/ml), 95.5% and clindamycin (MIC ≤ 4 μg/ml), 77.6%. Three B. fragilis isolates proved to be multidrug-resistant (parallel resistance to imipenem, amoxicillin/clavulanate and metronidazole or clindamycin was observed). All Prevotella strains tested were susceptible to imipenem and amoxicillin/clavulanate, whereas 78.6% of the pigmented Prevotella species and 46.4% of the non-pigmented species were resistant to penicillin (MIC >0.5 μg/ml). The susceptibility to metronidazole and clindamycin were 93% and 88%, respectively. All Fusobacterium strains were sensitive to all tested antibiotics, including penicillin.

Concepts: Gut flora, Mass spectrometry, Antibiotic resistance, Antibiotic, Fusobacterium, Bacteroides fragilis, Bacteroidetes


Enterotoxigenic Bacteroides fragilis produces a secreted metalloprotease known as B. fragilis toxin (BFT), which contributes to anaerobic sepsis, colitis, and colonic malignancy in mouse models of disease. A C11 family cysteine protease, fragipain (Fpn), directly activates BFT in the B. fragilis cell by removing the BFT prodomain. Fpn is itself a proenzyme, and is auto-activated upon cleavage at an arginine residue in its activation loop. We have defined the proteolytic active site of Fpn, demonstrated that Fpn auto-activation can occur by an in trans loop cleavage mechanism, and characterized structural features of the Fpn activation loop that control peptidase activity against several substrates including BFT. An arginine residue at the auto-cleavage site determines the fast activation kinetics of Fpn relative to the homologous C11 protease, PmC11, which is cleaved at lysine. Arginine to alanine substitution at the cleavage site ablated peptidase activity, as did partial truncation of the Fpn activation loop. However, complete truncation of the activation loop yielded an uncleaved, pro-form of Fpn that was active as a peptidase against both Fpn and BFT substrates. Thus, Fpn can be transformed into an active peptidase in the absence of activation loop cleavage. This study provides insight into the mechanism of fragipain activation and, more generally, defines the role of the C11 activation loop in control of peptidase activity and substrate specificity.

Concepts: Amino acid, Enzyme, Enzyme substrate, Posttranslational modification, Protease, Serpin, Bacteroides fragilis, Bacteroides


Enterotoxigenic Bacteroides fragilis (ETBF) is a toxin-producing bacteria thought to possibly promote colorectal carcinogenesis by modulating the mucosal immune response and inducing epithelial cell changes. Here, we aim to examine the association of colonic mucosal colonization with ETBF and the presence of a range of lesions on the colonic neoplastic spectrum.

Concepts: Immune system, Cancer, Bacteria, Gut flora, Evolution, Colon, Bacteroides fragilis, Bacteroidetes


Second and third generation sequencing technologies have revolutionised bacterial genomics. Short-read Illumina reads result in cheap but fragmented assemblies, whereas longer reads are more expensive but result in more complete genomes. The Oxford Nanopore MinION device is a revolutionary mobile sequencer that can produce thousands of long, single molecule reads.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Archaea, Bacteria, Gut flora, Genome, Bacteroides fragilis, Bacteroidetes


Pro-carcinogenic bacteria have the potential to initiate and/or promote colon cancer, in part via immune mechanisms that are incompletely understood. Using ApcMin mice colonized with the human pathobiont enterotoxigenic Bacteroides fragilis (ETBF) as a model of microbe-induced colon tumorigenesis, we show that the Bacteroides fragilis toxin (BFT) triggers a pro-carcinogenic, multi-step inflammatory cascade requiring IL-17R, NF-κB, and Stat3 signaling in colonic epithelial cells (CECs). Although necessary, Stat3 activation in CECs is not sufficient to trigger ETBF colon tumorigenesis. Notably, IL-17-dependent NF-κB activation in CECs induces a proximal to distal mucosal gradient of C-X-C chemokines, including CXCL1, that mediates the recruitment of CXCR2-expressing polymorphonuclear immature myeloid cells with parallel onset of ETBF-mediated distal colon tumorigenesis. Thus, BFT induces a pro-carcinogenic signaling relay from the CEC to a mucosal Th17 response that results in selective NF-κB activation in distal colon CECs, which collectively triggers myeloid-cell-dependent distal colon tumorigenesis.

Concepts: Immune system, Protein, Cancer, Bacteria, Gut flora, Epithelium, Colon, Bacteroides fragilis


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an autoimmune condition that is difficult to diagnose, and animal models of this disease have questionable human relevance(1). Here, we show that the dysbiosis network underlying IBD in dogs differs from that in humans, with some bacteria such as Fusobacterium switching roles between the two species (as Bacteroides fragilis switches roles between humans and mice)(2). For example, a dysbiosis index trained on humans fails when applied to dogs, but a dog-specific dysbiosis index achieves high correlations with the overall dog microbial community diversity patterns. In addition, a random forest classifier trained on dog-specific samples achieves high discriminatory power, even when using stool samples rather than the mucosal biopsies required for high discriminatory power in humans(2). These relationships were not detected in previously published dog IBD data sets due to their limited sample size and statistical power(3). Taken together, these results reveal the need to train host-specific dysbiosis networks and point the way towards a generalized understanding of IBD across different mammalian models.

Concepts: Immune system, Bacteria, Biopsy, Species, Ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, Inflammatory bowel disease, Bacteroides fragilis


A new approach for the non-microbicidal phenotypic manipulation of prominent gastrointestinal microbes is presented. Low micromolar concentrations of a chemical probe, acarbose, can selectively inhibit the Starch Utilization System and ablate the ability of Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron and B. fragilis strains to metabolize potato starch and pullulan. This strategy has potential therapeutic relevance for the selective modulation of the GI microbiota in a non-microbicidal manner.

Concepts: Protein, Natural selection, Bacteria, Gut flora, Starch, Enzyme inhibitor, Carbohydrate, Bacteroides fragilis


Hsaio and colleagues link gut microbes to autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in a mouse model. They show that ASD symptoms are triggered by compositional and structural shifts of microbes and associated metabolites, but symptoms are relieved by a Bacteroides fragilis probiotic. Thus probiotics may provide therapeutic strategies for neurodevelopmental disorders.

Concepts: Gut flora, Autism, Pervasive developmental disorder, Asperger syndrome, Autism spectrum, Neural development, Neurodevelopmental disorder, Bacteroides fragilis


Evidences have shown that dysbiosis could promote the progression of colorectal cancer (CRC). However, the association of dysbiosis and prognosis of CRC is barely investigated. Therefore, we used 16S rRNA gene sequencing approach to determine differences in microbiota among tumor tissues of different prognosis and found that Fusobacterium nucleatum and Bacteroides fragilis were more abundant in worse prognosis groups, while Faecalibacterium prausnitzii displayed higher abundance in survival group. To further explore the prognostic value of the found bacteria, Kaplan-Meier and Cox proportional regression analyses were used and the results exhibited that high abundance of F. nucleatum and B. fragilis were independent indicators of poor patient’s survival. Besides, the expression of major inflammatory mediator were analyzed using PCR and western blot methods, and it turned out that high abundance of F. nucleatum was associated with increased expression of TNF-α, β-catenin and NF-κB, while COX-2, MMP-9 and NF-κB were positively related with high B. fragilis level, and high level of F. prausnitzii showed lower expression of β-catenin, MMP-9 and NF-κB. Moreover, immunohistochemical analysis indicated that KRAS and BRAF expression were prominent in F. nucleatum and B. fragilis high abundance group, while MLH1 showed lower expression. In conclusion, F. nucleatum, B. fragilis and F. prausnitzii can be identified as useful prognostic biomarkers for CRC, and dysbiosis might worsen the patients' prognosis by up-regulating gut inflammation level.

Concepts: Gut flora, Ribosomal RNA, 16S ribosomal RNA, Gram negative bacteria, Fusobacterium, Bacteroides fragilis, Bacteroides, Bacteroidetes