The Functions of the Gut Microbiota Essay

The Functions of the Gut Microbiota Essay

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The essential gut microbiota, which includes members of the three domains of life- bacteria, archaea, and eukarya- is one of the most densely populated biomes and plays a crucial role in supplying nourishment, monitoring epithelial development, governing innate immunity and preserving the balance of the intestinal mucosa. Since bacteria dominate this biome, identification of microbes on the basis of small subunit (16S) ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene sequences has drastically helped to reveal the gut’s composition (1,2). Recent studies regarding gut microbial communities suggested three principal variants or clusters, referred to as ‘enterotypes’, each of which is characterized by a discrete set of key bacterial genera. These three enterotypes, Bacteroides, Prevotella, and Ruminococcus, make up the core microbiota, whereas Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria and Verrucomicrobia are minor components. Bacteroides are highly linked to animal protein and a variety of amino acids and saturated fats, implying that meat consumption characterizes this enterotype. Prevotella, on the other hand, is associated with high values for carbohydrates and simple sugars (3). The phylogenetic and functional basis of enterotypes is determined by differences in organization at the phylum, gene and pathway level, as well as similarities with coexisting genera. Factors such as age, genetics and diet may also effect microbiota composition (3). Exploring different facets of the human gut microbiota helps to present a clear understanding of the influence it has on maintaining a healthy body, immune homeostasis, cardiovascular health, metabolism and host-microbe interactions/development.

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...ience, 336, 1262-1267.
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22. Cani, P. D., Everard, A., & Duparc, T. (2013). Gut microbiota, enteroendocrine functions and metabolism. Current Opinion in Pharmacology, 13(6), 935-940.
23. Xie, G., Zhang, S., Zheng, X., & Jia, W. (2013). Metabolomics approaches for characterizing metabolic interactions between host and its commensal microbes. Electrophoresis, 34(19), 2787-2798.
24. Chassard, C., & Lacroix, C. (2013). Carbohydrates and the human gut microbiota. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, 16(4), 453-460.
25. Aziz, Q. Q., Doré, J. J., Emmanuel, A. A., et al. (2013). Gut microbiota and gastrointestinal health: current concepts and future directions. Neurogastroenterology & Motility, 25(1), 4-15.

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