Current microbiology

Diversity of human-associated Methanobrevibacter smithii isolates revealed by multispacer sequence typing.

PMID 25708582


Methanobrevibacter smithii is the main archaea in human, detoxifying molecular hydrogen resulting from anaerobic bacteria fermentations into gaseous methane. Its identification relies on gene sequencing, but no method is available to discriminate among genetic variants of M. smithii. Here, we developed a multispacer sequence typing (MST) for genotyping the genetic variants of M. smithii. Four intergenic spacers recovered from the M. smithii reference genome were PCR amplified and sequenced in three M. smithii reference strains and in a collection of 22 M. smithii isolates from the oral cavity in two individuals and the gut of 10 additional individuals. Sequencing yielded 216 genetic polymorphisms including 89 single nucleotide polymorphisms (41.2 %), 83 insertions (38.4 %), and 44 deletions (20.4 %). Combining these genetic polymorphisms yielded 15 genotypes with an index of discrimination of 0.942 (confidence interval 0.9-0.984; P < 0.05). Five M. smithii isolates made from the oral cavity yielded five different genotypes; seven gut isolates yielded nine different genotypes; genotypes MST5 and MST6 were found both in the oral cavity and the gut. Multiple genotypes were identified in some individuals at the same anatomical site. MST is a sequencing-based method which discriminates several genetic variants within M. smithii. Individuals may harbor several contemporary genetic variants of M. smithii in the oral cavity and gut. MST will allow studying population dynamics of M. smithii and tracing its circulation between individuals and their environment.