Adaptation of Akkermansia muciniphila to the oxic-anoxic interface of the mucus layer

Janneke P. Ouwerkerk, Kees C.H. van der Ark, Mark Davids, Nico J. Claassens, Teresa Robert Finestra, Willem M. de Vos, Clara Belzer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Akkermansia muciniphila colonizes the mucus layer of the gastrointestinal tract, where the organism can be exposed to the oxygen that diffuses from epithelial cells. To understand how A. muciniphila is able to survive and grow at this oxic-anoxic interface, its oxygen tolerance and response and reduction capacities were studied. A. muciniphila was found to be oxygen tolerant. On top of this, under aerated conditions, A. muciniphila showed significant oxygen reduction capacities and its growth rate and yield were increased compared to those seen under strict anaerobic conditions. Transcriptome analysis revealed an initial oxygen stress response upon exposure to oxygen. Thereafter, genes related to respiration were expressed, including those coding for the cytochrome bd complex, which can function as a terminal oxidase. The functionality of A. muciniphila cytochrome bd genes was proven by successfully complementing cytochrome-deficient Escherichia coli strain ECOM4. We conclude that A. muciniphila can use oxygen when it is present at nanomolar concentrations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6983-6993
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Volume82
Issue number23
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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