External environment has strong influence on fungal communities in primate gut: study

Fungal communities in the intestines (representative image)

Researchers are beginning to understand the importance of intestinal fungi in mammals, as well as how various environmental factors can shape these fungal communities, which play an important role in regulating immune responses.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota and the Czech Academy of Sciences presented an overview of gut fungal community composition and fungal-bacterial interactions in different non-human primates (captive and wild) and human populations with a set diversity of food acquisition practices in a new study published in npj Biofilms and Microbiomes (traditional farmers, hunter-gatherers and western human population).

Search results:

The research team was led by computational biologist Ashok Kumar Sharma, a postdoctoral researcher who previously worked at the University of Minnesota and is now at Cedars-Sinai. To profile fungal and bacterial community composition, the researchers sequenced ITS2 and 16S rRNA gene markers in fecal samples from four non-human primate species and three different human groups.

“Understanding how the fungal community adapts and interacts with bacterial communities in response to different factors such as diet and lifestyle would provide a basic framework for investigating their potential roles in human health and disease,” Sharma said.

The similarities between captive monkeys and humans living industrialized lifestyles suggest that diet and lifestyle factors may have a greater influence than genetics in shaping gut fungal community composition and organisms. fungal-bacterial interactions. These results are supported by higher similarities in fungal composition between humans eating non-industrialized diets and wild monkeys.

Taken together, the results suggest that ecological, behavioral, and individual factors all play a role in shaping the primate gut mycobiome, or fungal communities that colonize the gastrointestinal tract of primates.

What the researchers found:

Host ecological factors, including dietary lifestyle, had a strong influence on fungal community composition in the primate gut. In contrast, the gut bacterial fraction appears to be more influenced by host genetics.

Ecological differences between and within primate populations not only influence fungal communities, but also how fungi and bacteria coexist in the gut. Fungal and bacterial taxa with similar functional potential can interact to perform common metabolic functions, such as carbohydrate breakdown.

“These results suggest that the external environment has a significant impact on the fungi that inhabit communities in the gut of primates; it is unclear whether these fungi are primarily transient (short-lived) or long-term colonizers. -be a more interesting question is whether the lack of fungal diversity in western/industrialized human populations has any impact on health” Andres Gomez, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Animal Science, echoed that sentiment.

“Because environmental factors are likely more important than host genetics in shaping the mycobiome, we might consider the mycobiome a better indicator of a healthy and stable ecosystem in which primates live,” said Klara Judita Petrzelkova, Ph.D., researcher at the Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Czech Academy of Sciences. Measuring the contribution of specific food sources to determining fungal assembly mechanisms in the gastrointestinal tract would be an important step forward in the future.

(Source: Physical Organization)

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