Applied and environmental microbiology

The Host Genotype and Environment Affect Strain Types of Bifidobacterium longum subsp. longum Inhabiting the Intestinal Tracts of Twins.

PMID 25956768


To investigate the influences of host genotype and environment on Bifidobacterium longum subsp. longum inhabiting human intestines at the strain level, six pairs of twins, divided into two groups (children and adults), were recruited. Each group consisted of two monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs and one dizygotic (DZ) twin pair. Child twins had been living together from birth, while adult twins had been living separately for 5 to 10 years. A total of 345 B. longum subsp. longum isolates obtained from 60 fecal samples from these twins were analyzed by multilocus sequence typing (MLST), and 35 sequence types (STs) were finally acquired. Comparison of strains within and between the twin pairs showed that no strains with identical STs were observed between unrelated individuals or within adult DZ twin pairs. Eight STs were found to be monophyletic, existing within MZ twins and child DZ twins. The similarity of strain types within child cotwins was significantly higher than that within adult cotwins, which indicated that environment was one of the important determinants in B. longum subsp. longum strain types inhabiting human intestines. However, although these differences between MZ and DZ twins were observed, it is still difficult to reach an exact conclusion about the impact of host genotype. This is mainly because of the limited number of subjects tested in the present study and the lack of strain types tracing in the same twin pairs from birth until adulthood.