Research ArticleGUT MICROBIOTA

The effects of micronutrient deficiencies on bacterial species from the human gut microbiota

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Science Translational Medicine  17 May 2017:
Vol. 9, Issue 390, eaal4069
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aal4069

A gut bacterial view of micronutrient deficiency

Deficiencies in vitamins and minerals (micronutrients) are a global health challenge. In a new study, Hibberd et al. compare the effects of acute dietary deficiency of vitamin A, folate, iron, or zinc in gnotobiotic mice harboring bacterial strains common in the human gut. Vitamin A had the greatest effect on the structure of the bacterial community and gene expression. Bacteroides vulgatus, a bacterial species positively correlated with host growth in gnotobiotic mouse models of postnatal human microbiota development, had the biggest response to vitamin A deficiency, exhibiting an increase in its abundance. Genetic, multi-omic, and pharmacologic analyses indicated that retinol treatment affected B. vulgatus fitness through the activity of the bacterial AcrAB-TolC efflux system. These results suggest that micronutrient imbalances should be considered from the perspective of both the human host and the gut microbiota they possess.

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