Amino acid utilization allows intestinal dominance of Lactobacillus amylovorus

Yujia Jing, Chunlong Mu, Huisong Wang, Junhua Shen, Erwin G. Zoetendal, Weiyun Zhu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The mammalian intestine harbors heterogeneous distribution of microbes among which specific taxa (e.g. Lactobacillus) dominate across mammals. Deterministic factors such as nutrient availability and utilization may affect microbial distributions. Due to physiological complexity, mechanisms linking nutrient utilization and the dominance of key taxa remain unclear. Lactobacillus amylovorus is a predominant species in the small intestine of pigs. Employing a pig model, we found that the small intestine was dominated by Lactobacillus and particularly L. amylovorus, and enriched with peptide-bound amino acids (PBAAs), all of which were further boosted after a peptide-rich diet. To investigate the bacterial growth dominance mechanism, a representative strain L. amylovorus S1 was isolated from the small intestine and anaerobically cultured in media with free amino acids or peptides as sole nitrogen sources. L. amylovorus S1 grew preferentially with peptide-rich rather than amino acid-rich substrates, as reflected by enhanced growth and PBAA utilization, and peptide transporter upregulations. Utilization of free amino acids (e.g. methionine, valine, lysine) and expressions of transporters and metabolic enzymes were enhanced simultaneously in peptide-rich substrate. Additionally, lactate was elevated in peptide-rich substrates while acetate in amino acid-rich substrates, indicating distinct metabolic patterns depending on substrate forms. These results suggest that an increased capability of utilizing PBAAs contributes to the dominance of L. amylovorus, indicating amino acid utilization as a deterministic factor affecting intestinal microbial distribution. These findings may provide new insights into the microbe-gut nutrition interplay and guidelines for dietary manipulations toward gut health especially small intestine health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2491-2502
JournalISME Journal
Issue number11
Early online date27 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


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