A Genomic View of the Human-Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron Symbiosis

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Science  28 Mar 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5615, pp. 2074-2076
DOI: 10.1126/science.1080029

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The human gut is colonized with a vast community of indigenous microorganisms that help shape our biology. Here, we present the complete genome sequence of the Gram-negative anaerobeBacteroides thetaiotaomicron, a dominant member of our normal distal intestinal microbiota. Its 4779-member proteome includes an elaborate apparatus for acquiring and hydrolyzing otherwise indigestible dietary polysaccharides and an associated environment-sensing system consisting of a large repertoire of extracytoplasmic function sigma factors and one- and two-component signal transduction systems. These and other expanded paralogous groups shed light on the molecular mechanisms underlying symbiotic host-bacterial relationships in our intestine.

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