Autochthonous faecal viral transfer (FVT) impacts the murine microbiome after antibiotic perturbation

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Draper, Lorraine A.
Ryan, Feargal J.
Dalmasso, Marion
Casey, Pat G.
McCann, Angela
Velayudhan, Vimalkumar
Ross, R. Paul
Hill, Colin
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BioMed Central Ltd
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Background: It has become increasingly accepted that establishing and maintaining a complex and diverse gut microbiota is fundamental to human health. There are growing efforts to identify means of modulating and influencing the microbiota, especially in individuals who have experienced a disruption in their native microbiota. Faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is one method that restores diversity to the microbiota of an individual by introducing microbes from a healthy donor. FMT introduces the total microbial load into the recipient, including the bacteria, archaea, yeasts, protists and viruses. In this study, we investigated whether an autochthonous faecal viral transfer (FVT), in the form of a sterile faecal filtrate, could impact the recovery of a bacteriome disrupted by antibiotic treatment. Results: Following antibiotic disruption of the bacteriome, test mice received an FVT harvested prior to antibiotic treatment, while control mice received a heat- and nuclease-treated FVT. In both groups of mice, the perturbed microbiome reverted over time to one more similar to the pre-treatment one. However, the bacteriomes of mice that received an FVT, in which bacteriophages predominate, separated from those of the control mice as determined by principal co-ordinate analysis (PCoA). Moreover, analysis of the differentially abundant taxa indicated a closer resemblance to the pre-treatment bacteriome in the test mice that had received an FVT. Similarly, metagenomic sequencing of the virome confirmed that faecal bacteriophages of FVT and control mice differed over time in both abundance and diversity, with the phages constituting the FVT persisting in mice that received them. Conclusions: An autochthonous virome transfer reshaped the bacteriomes of mice post-antibiotic treatment such that they more closely resembled the pre-antibiotic microbiota profile compared to mice that received non-viable phages. Thus, FVT may have a role in addressing antibiotic-associated microbiota alterations and potentially prevent the establishment of post-antibiotic infection. Given that bacteriophages are biologically inert in the absence of their host bacteria, they could form a safe and effective alternative to whole microbiota transplants that could be delivered during/following perturbation of the gut flora.
Antibiotic , Bacteriome , Bacteriophage , Microbiome , Murine , Transfer , Virome
Draper, L. A., Ryan, F. J., Dalmasso, M., Casey, P. G., McCann, A., Velayudhan, V., Ross, R. P. and Hill, C. (2020) ‘Autochthonous faecal viral transfer (FVT) impacts the murine microbiome after antibiotic perturbation’, BMC Biology, 18(1), 173 (14pp). doi: 10.1186/s12915-020-00906-0
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