Early life dynamics of the human gut virome and bacterial microbiome in infants

Efrem S. Lim, Yanjiao Zhou, Guoyan Zhao, Irma K. Bauer, Lindsay Droit, I. Malick Ndao, Barbara B. Warner, Phillip I. Tarr, David Wang, Lori R. Holtz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

198 Scopus citations

Abstract

The early years of life are important for immune development and influence health in adulthood. Although it has been established that the gut bacterial microbiome is rapidly acquired after birth, less is known about the viral microbiome (or 'virome'), consisting of bacteriophages and eukaryotic RNA and DNA viruses, during the first years of life. Here, we characterized the gut virome and bacterial microbiome in a longitudinal cohort of healthy infant twins. The virome and bacterial microbiome were more similar between co-twins than between unrelated infants. From birth to 2 years of age, the eukaryotic virome and the bacterial microbiome expanded, but this was accompanied by a contraction of and shift in the bacteriophage virome composition. The bacteriophage-bacteria relationship begins from birth with a high predator-low prey dynamic, consistent with the Lotka-Volterra prey model. Thus, in contrast to the stable microbiome observed in adults, the infant microbiome is highly dynamic and associated with early life changes in the composition of bacteria, viruses and bacteriophages with age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1228-1234
Number of pages7
JournalNature Medicine
Volume21
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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    Lim, E. S., Zhou, Y., Zhao, G., Bauer, I. K., Droit, L., Ndao, I. M., Warner, B. B., Tarr, P. I., Wang, D., & Holtz, L. R. (2015). Early life dynamics of the human gut virome and bacterial microbiome in infants. Nature Medicine, 21(10), 1228-1234. https://doi.org/10.1038/nm.3950