Advertisement

The Microbiome: Genesis and Functions

Chapter

Abstract

As in the case of the visible organs, the microbiome also begins its developmental stages in the womb. Further evolution and maturation of the organ then proceed after birth during childhood, puberty and beyond. An array of disparate factors including genetic, geography, and nutrition converge to shape the microbiome each of us possesses. For instance, individuals born in rural Africa or South America tend to have higher amounts of Prevotella than their counterparts in Europe or North America. In a similar fashion the lungs are larger in residents living in high elevation than those dwelling at sea-level. The microbiome not only plays a role in the establishment of the visible organs but it also fends against opportunistic microbial invaders, produces vitamins, enzymes, anti-oxidants, neurotransmitters and participate in a plethora of vital functions. The effectiveness of the digestive tract in extracting the maximal amount of nutrients from the foods we intake is largely dependent on the microbial helpers residing in the alimentary canal. The ability of different populations to consume food products available only in their specific region is attributed to this microbial assistance. The digestion of dietary fibres, the activation of drugs and the elimination of toxins are mediated by the wide range of enzymes that are associated with the constituents of the microbiome. Although the molecular workings of the microbiome is only now beginning to be unravelled, it is becoming abundantly clear that these microbial partners are intimately linked to humans, make them the way they are and impart on each individual the unique biological and physical attributes they exhibit.

Keywords

Organogenesis development digestion geography genetic diet vitamins dopamine 

Suggested Readings

  1. Arnoldussen IAC, Wiesmann M, Pelgrim CE et al. (2017) Butyrate restores HFD-induced adaptations in brain function and metabolism in mid-adult obese mice. Int J Obes (Lond) 41:935–944.  https://doi.org/10.1038/ijo.2017.52 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Carmody RN, Turnbaugh PJ (2014) Host-microbial interactions in the metabolism of therapeutic and diet-derived xenobiotics. J Clin Invest 124:4173–4181.  https://doi.org/10.1172/JCI72335 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. Charbonneau MR, Blanton LV, DiGiulio DB et al. (2016) A microbial perspective of human developmental biology. Nature 535:48–55.  https://doi.org/10.1038/nature18845 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Dinan TG, Borre YE, Cryan JF (2014) Genomics of schizophrenia: time to consider the gut microbiome? Mol Psychiatry 19:1252–1257.  https://doi.org/10.1038/mp.2014.93 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Dominguez-Bello MG, De Jesus-Laboy KM, Shen N et al. (2016) Partial restoration of the microbiota of cesarean-born infants via vaginal microbial transfer. Nat Med 22:250–253.  https://doi.org/10.1038/nm.4039 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  6. Donaldson GP, Lee SM, Mazmanian SK (2016) Gut biogeography of the bacterial microbiota. Nat Rev Microbiol 14:20–32.  https://doi.org/10.1038/nrmicro3552 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Dorrestein PC, Gallo RL, Knight R (2016) Microbial skin inhabitants: friends forever. Cell 165:771–772.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2016.04.035 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Fredrich E, Barzantny H, Brune I, Tauch A (2013) Daily battle against body odor: towards the activity of the axillary microbiota. Trends Microbiol 21:305–312.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tim.2013.03.002 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Graf D, Di Cagno R, Fak F et al. (2015) Contribution of diet to the composition of the human gut microbiota. Microb Ecol Health Dis 26:26164.  https://doi.org/10.3402/mehd.v26.26164 PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. LeBlanc JG, Milani C, de Giori GS et al. (2013) Bacteria as vitamin suppliers to their host: a gut microbiota perspective. Curr Opin Biotechnol 24:160–168.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2012.08.005 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Leung K, Thuret S (2015) Gut microbiota: a modulator of brain plasticity and cognitive function in ageing. Healthcare (Basel) 3, 898–916.  https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare3040898 Google Scholar
  12. Lin L, Zhang J (2017) Role of intestinal microbiota and metabolites on gut homeostasis and human diseases. BMC Immunol 18:2.  https://doi.org/10.1186/s12865-016-0187-3 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  13. Man WH, de Steenhuijsen Piters WA, Bogaert D (2017) The microbiota of the respiratory tract: gatekeeper to respiratory health. Nat Rev Microbiol 15:259–270.  https://doi.org/10.1038/nrmicro.2017.14 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Morowitz MJ, Carlisle EM, Alverdy JC (2011) Contributions of intestinal bacteria to nutrition and metabolism in the critically ill. Surg Clin North Am 91:771–785, viii.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.suc.2011.05.001 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  15. Ravel J, Brotman RM (2016) Translating the vaginal microbiome: gaps and challenges. Genome Med 8:35.  https://doi.org/10.1186/s13073-016-0291-2 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  16. Spanogiannopoulos P, Bess EN, Carmody RN, Turnbaugh PJ (2016) The microbial pharmacists within us: a metagenomic view of xenobiotic metabolism. Nat Rev Microbiol 14:273–287.  https://doi.org/10.1038/nrmicro.2016.17 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  17. van de Wijgert JH, Jespers V (2016) Incorporating microbiota data into epidemiologic models: examples from vaginal microbiota research. Ann Epidemiol 26:360–365.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annepidem.2016.03.004 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Faculty of Science and EngineeringLaurentian UniversitySudburyCanada

Personalised recommendations