Crossing the eukaryote-prokaryote divide: A ubiquitin homolog in the human commensal bacterium Bacteroides fragilis

Sheila Patrick, Garry W. Blakely

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The resident microbiota of the human gastrointestinal (GI) tract is comprised of ~2,000 bacterial species, the majority of which are anaerobes. Colonization of the GI tract is important for normal development of the immune system and provides a reservoir of catabolic enzymes that degrade ingested plant polysaccharides. Bacteroides fragilis is an important member of the microbiota because it contributes to T helper cell development, but is also the most frequently isolated Gram-negative anaerobe from clinical infections. During the annotation of the B. fragilis genome sequence, we identified a gene predicted to encode a homolog of the eukaryotic protein modifier, ubiquitin. Previously, ubiquitin had only been found in eukaryotes, indicating the bacterial acquisition as a potential inter-kingdom horizontal gene transfer event. Here we discuss the possible roles of B. fragilis ubiquitin and the implications for health and disease. © 2012 Landes Bioscience
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-151
Number of pages3
JournalMobile Genetic Elements
Volume2
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012

Keywords

  • Bacteroides
  • ubiquitin
  • outer membrane vesicles
  • human microbiome
  • GI tract microbiota
  • inflammatory bowel disease

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