Faecal Microbiota Composition in Adults Is Associated with the FUT2 Gene Determining the Secretor Status

P. Wacklin, J. Tuimala, J. Nikkilä, S. Tims, H. Mäkivuokko, N. Alakulppi, P. Laine, M. Rajilic-Stojanovic, L. Paulin, W.M. de Vos, J. Mättö

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80 Citations (Scopus)


The human intestine is colonised with highly diverse and individually defined microbiota, which likely has an impact on the host well-being. Drivers of the individual variation in the microbiota compositions are multifactorial and include environmental, host and dietary factors. We studied the impact of the host secretor status, encoded by fucosyltransferase 2 (FUT2) -gene, on the intestinal microbiota composition. Secretor status determines the expression of the ABH and Lewis histo-blood group antigens in the intestinal mucosa. The study population was comprised of 14 non-secretor (FUT2 rs601338 genotype AA) and 57 secretor (genotypes GG and AG) adult individuals of western European descent. Intestinal microbiota was analyzed by PCR-DGGE and for a subset of 12 non-secretor subjects and 12 secretor subjects additionally by the 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing and the HITChip phylogenetic microarray analysis. All three methods showed distinct clustering of the intestinal microbiota and significant differences in abundances of several taxa representing dominant microbiota between the non-secretors and the secretors as well as between the FUT2 genotypes. In addition, the non-secretors had lower species richness than the secretors. The soft clustering of microbiota into enterotypes (ET) 1 and 3 showed that the non-secretors had a higher probability of belonging to ET1 and the secretors to ET3. Our study shows that secretor status and FUT2 polymorphism are associated with the composition of human intestinal microbiota, and appears thus to be one of the key drivers affecting the individual variation of human intestinal microbiota.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere94863
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • inflammatory-bowel-disease
  • human gut microbiome
  • blood-group antigens
  • intestinal microbiota
  • crohns-disease
  • celiac-disease
  • mucosa
  • twins
  • galactosidase
  • enterotypes

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