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The Human Microbiome

The Biology of Microorganisms

Microorganisms found across all three domains of life
Bacteria Archaea Eukarya

The Biology of MicroorganismsEukarya

Although we typically think of members of the domain Eukarya as being large, multi-celled organisms, there are in fact many eukaryotic microbes Eukaryotic cells have membrane bound structures called organelles
Ex. nucleus, mitochondria, chloroplasts

Mitochondria and chloroplasts may have originally been symbiotic bacteria Microorganisms: protists, algae, fungi

The Biology of Microorganisms Bacteria

Bacteria + archaea = prokaryotes Most prokaryotes lack membrane bound organelles Most prokaryotes and a have circular chromosome (and occasionally small circular plasmids) Prokaryotes use cytoplasmic membrane to generate energy Bacteria have diverse metabolism:
Respire on oxygen, nitrate, sulfate, iron and many other compounds Can obtain energy from organic carbon, nitrite, ammonia, hydrogen, methane, sulfur, etc. Some are photosynthetic

The Biology of MicroorganismsArchaea

Many are extremophiles
pH Temperature Salinity Pressure

Some live under nonextreme conditions Structurally different from bacteria:

Cell membrane lipid content Cell wall structure Flagella structure
Archaea are found in extreme places such as: (a) swamps and sewage plants (b) salt lakes (c) deep sea hydrothermal vents (d) hot springs

The Biology of Microorganisms Viruses

Not living organisms but often still labeled as microorganisms Have their own genome Unable to synthesize their own proteins, replicate themselves independently and have no metabolic capabilities Require the machinery of the cell that they are infecting to replicate themselves.

The Human Microbiome

For the past 500 million years animals have hosted microbes in and on their bodies
Microbes are often harmless and even cooperative

Microbes help us in defending against pathogens and help boost our metabolism. In return we provide them with nutrients and a home Human microbiome collection of microbes within and on the human body Human microbiome varies across different body sites and from person to person

1. Describe the differences in metabolism and structure between bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotes 2. Why are viruses not considered to be living organisms? 3. Why do you think that the human microbiome varies across different body sites?

The Human Microbiome ProjectHistory

Human Genome Project (HGP) complete in 2006
Led to advances in DNA sequencing technologies and bioinformatic methods

Human Microbiome Project (HMP) grew from the HGP and began in 2007 Main funding from the National Institutes of Health

The Human Microbiome Project Goals

1. Develop a set of reference microbial genome sequences from the human microbiome and begin the preliminary characterzation of the healthy human microbiome 2. Explore the relationship between disease and changes in the human microbiome 3. Develop new tools and technology to analyze all the DNA sequences 4. Create a place to store and share data with others 5. Create a place to store physical samples of DNA and microorganisms that can be accessed by other researchers 6. Consider the ethical, legal, and social implications of the research

The Human Microbiome Project Methods

Challenges with sequencing the human microbiome
Thousands of different species of microorganisms Many of these bacteria are unable to be grown in a laboratory

The Human Microbiome Project Methods

16S rRNA gene sequencing
The 16S rRNA is a component of the 30S subunit of prokaryotic ribosomes Gene encoding the 16S rRNA is often used in phylogenetic studies in order to identify bacteria present in a community and to map their relationship to each other

The Human Microbiome Project Methods

16S rRNA sequencing

The Human Microbiome Project Methods

16S rRNA gene sequencing provides a good estimate of who is there; however, this data does not tell scientists about what the microbes could be doing inside our bodies In order to get a better idea of how these microbes live their lives inside our bodies, scientists had to turn to metagenomic sequencing. Metagenomics- the study of the total DNA extracted from an environmental sample

The Human Microbiome Project Methods


Map of the Human Microbiome

Sites of the body with their own unique microbiomes
Skin Mouth Gastrointestinal tract Urogenital tract

1. What are the two methods that scientists use to explore the human microbiome? What information do these methods give us? 2.If you were a scientist working on the Human Microbiome Project, what questions would you try to address about the human microbiome?

What Your Microbes do for You

Fighting off pathogens - Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14 produces one or more molecules that is capable of inhibiting toxin synthesis by Staphylococcus aureus. Iron absorption - studies on mice that that lack gut microbes suggest that there is a link between the gut microbiota and the development of iron deficiency. Vitamin production Gut microbes produce vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin B5, vitamin B3, biotin, tetrahydrofolate, and vitamin K. Antooxidant production - Indole-3-propionic acid is a powerful antioxidant found in the human body. A group of GI tract bacteria have been implicated in the transformation of indole to indole-3-propionic acid.

1. Why do you think that people take probiotics? Do you think that they are beneficial? 2. What might happen to a person who has taken antibiotics?

Your Microbiome and Your Health

Studies focus on observing how the microbial communities of healthy and diseased individuals differ and how the microbiome fluctuates over the course of a disease so that a "disease microbiome" can be established for different complex conditions For many complex diseases it is believed that a community of microorganisms, rather than one pathogen, may lead to the development of disease

Your Microbiome and Your Health

Diseases associated with an unhealthy microbiome
Psoriasis Skin ulcers Inflammatory bowel disease Obesity Anxiety and depression Colorectal cancer

Your Microbiome and Your Health

Microbes may effect how your body metabolizes druges Example: paracetamol and health supplement metabolism

1. How do scientists figure out if disease development is triggered by the microbiome? 2. What are some ways that doctors could treat diseases that are known to be associated with an unhealthy human microbiome?

Personalized Medicine
Personalized medicine - a branch of healthcare that utilizes a patient's unique clinical, genomic, historical, and environmental information to inform both the treatment of disease in that individual but also to maintain a state of wellness. The goal of personalized medicine is to optimize healthcare for each individual rather than the average person.

Personalized medicine

Personalized medicine
The bacterial communities within you play a major role in your body's day-to-day functioning (or malfunctioning, in some cases). The information known about the interactions between the microbiome and disease development and drug metabolism can help doctors personalize healthcare to not to an individual but also their microbes.

1. How does personalized medicine differ from medical practice currently? 2. How can a persons microbiome information be used to personalize their healthcare?