Coenzyme B12 synthesis as a baseline to study metabolite contribution of animal microbiota
With the current knowledge of the multitude of microbes that inhabit the human body, it is increasingly clear that they constitute an integral component of the host. The gut microbiota community is principally involved in the metabolism of dietary constituents such as carbohydrates which account for majority of the energy intake from diet. Diet has gained an important role in shaping the composition of gut inhabitants. The quantity and type of food consumed is recognized as a causal factor for metabolic disorders such as obesity and diabetes. Analysis of host-microbe interactions can thus contribute to the understanding of such metabolic disorders. In this study, data from Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes and Carbohydrate Active EnZYmes Database was utilized as a starting point. Enzyme information from the host Homo sapiens coupled with details of the three predominant phyla of gut bacteria, namely Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes and Actinobacteria were used in the creation of a comprehensive metabolic network, which we refer to as 'meta-metabolome'. This 'meta-metabolome' provides a perspective of the degree to which microbes influence carbohydrate metabolism, in conjunction with host specific enzymes. Analysis of reactions in the network reveals the amplification of monosaccharide content brought about by microbial enzyme activity. The framework outlined in this study provides a holistic approach to assess host-microbe symbiosis. It also provides us with a means of analyzing how diet can be modulated to provide beneficial effects to the host or how probiotics can potentially be used to relieve certain metabolic disorders.