Southern Chinese populations harbour non-nucleatum Fusobacteria possessing homologues of the colorectal cancer-associated FadA virulence factor
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Fusobacteria are not common nor relatively abundant in non-colorectal cancer (CRC) populations, however, we identified multiple Fusobacterium taxa nearly absent in western and rural populations to be comparatively more prevalent and relatively abundant in southern Chinese populations. We investigated whether these represented known or novel lineages in the Fusobacterium genus, and assessed their genomes for features implicated in development of cancer.

Prevalence and relative abundances of fusobacterial species were calculated from 3157 CRC and non-CRC gut metagenomes representing 16 populations from various biogeographies. Microbial genomes were assembled and compared with existing reference genomes to assess novel fusobacterial diversity. Phylogenetic distribution of virulence genes implicated in CRC was investigated.

Irrespective of CRC disease status, southern Chinese populations harboured increased prevalence (maximum 39% vs 7%) and relative abundances (average 0.4% vs 0.04% of gut community) of multiple recognised and novel fusobacterial taxa phylogenetically distinct from Fusobacterium nucleatum. Genomes assembled from southern Chinese gut metagenomes increased existing fusobacterial diversity by 14.3%. Homologues of the FadA adhesin linked to CRC were consistently detected in several monophyletic lineages sister to and inclusive of F. varium and F. ulcerans, but not F. mortiferum. We also detected increased prevalence and relative abundances of F. varium in CRC compared with non-CRC cohorts, which together with distribution of FadA homologues supports a possible association with gut disease.

The proportion of fusobacteria in guts of southern Chinese populations are higher compared with several western and rural populations in line with the notion of environment/biogeography driving human gut microbiome composition. Several non-nucleatum taxa possess FadA homologues and were enriched in CRC cohorts; whether this imposes a risk in developing CRC and other gut diseases deserves further investigation.
Acceptance Date01/02/2020
All Author(s) ListYeoh YK, Chen Z, Wong MCS, Hui M, Yu J, Ng SC, Sung JJY, Chan FKL, Chan PKS
Journal nameGut
Volume Number69
Issue Number11
PublisherBMJ Publishing Group
Pages1998 - 2007
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom

Last updated on 2021-09-06 at 23:59