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Strain-level differences in gut microbiome composition determine fecal IgA levels and are modifiable by gut microbiota manipulation

By Chao Yang, Ilaria Mogno, Eduardo J. Contijoch, Joshua N. Borgerding, Varun Aggarwala, Sophia Y Siu, Zhihua Li, Emilie K. Grasset, Drew S. Helmus, Marla C Dubinsky, Lishomwa C. Ndhlovu, Andrea Cerutti, Jeremiah J Faith

Posted 13 Feb 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/544015

Fecal IgA production depends on colonization by a gut microbiota. However, the bacterial strains that drive gut IgA production remain largely unknown. By accessing the IgA-inducing capacity of a diverse set of human gut microbial strains, we identified Bacteroides ovatus as the species that best induced gut IgA production. However, this induction varied bimodally across different B. ovatus strains. The high IgA-inducing B. ovatus strains preferentially elicited more IgA production in the large intestine largely through the T-cell-dependent B cell-activation pathway. Remarkably, a low-IgA phenotype in mice could be robustly and consistently converted into a high-IgA phenotype by transplanting a multiplex cocktail of high IgA-inducing B. ovatus strains but not individual ones. Our results highlight the critical importance of microbial strains in driving phenotype variation in the mucosal immune system and provide a strategy to robustly modify a gut immune phenotype, including IgA production.

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