Oscillospira and related bacteria – From metagenomic species to metabolic features

Uri Gophna*, Tom Konikoff, Henrik Bjørn Nielsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

268 Scopus citations


Oscillospira is an under-studied anaerobic bacterial genus from Clostridial cluster IV that has resisted cultivation for over a century since the first time it was observed. In recent years its 16S rRNA gene was identified in several human gut microbiota studies where it was often associated with interesting traits, especially leanness. However, very little is known about its metabolism or physiology. Here we used nearly complete genomes derived from shot-gun metagenomic data from the human gut to analyze Oscillospira and related bacteria. We used sequence similarity, gene neighbourhood information and manual metabolic pathway curation to decipher key metabolic features of this intriguing bacterial genus. We infer that Oscillospira species are butyrate producers, and at least some of them have the ability to utilize glucuronate, a common animal-derived sugar that is both produced by the human host and consumed by that host in diets rich in animal products. These findings could help explain diet-related inter-individual variation in faecal Oscillospira levels as well as the observation that the presence of this genus is reduced in diseases that involve inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)835-841
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017


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