A Different Microbiome Gene Repertoire in the Airways of Cystic Fibrosis Patients with Severe Lung Disease

Giovanni Bacci, Alessio Mengoni, Ersilia Fiscarelli, Nicola Segata, Giovanni Taccetti, Daniela Dolce, Patrizia Paganin, Patrizia Morelli, Vanessa Tuccio, Alessandra De Alessandri, Vincenzina Lucidi, Annamaria Bevivino

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In recent years, next-generation sequencing (NGS) was employed to decipher the structure and composition of the microbiota of the airways in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. However, little is still known about the overall gene functions harbored by the resident microbial populations and which specific genes are associated with various stages of CF lung disease. In the present study, we aimed to identify the microbial gene repertoire of CF microbiota in twelve patients with severe and normal/mild lung disease by performing sputum shotgun metagenome sequencing. The abundance of metabolic pathways encoded by microbes inhabiting CF airways was reconstructed from the metagenome. We identified a set of metabolic pathways differently distributed in patients with different pulmonary function; namely, pathways related to bacterial chemotaxis and flagellar assembly, as well as genes encoding efflux-mediated antibiotic resistance mechanisms and virulence-related genes. The results indicated that the microbiome of CF patients with low pulmonary function is enriched in virulence-related genes and in genes encoding efflux-mediated antibiotic resistance mechanisms. Overall, the microbiome of severely affected adults with CF seems to encode different mechanisms for the facilitation of microbial colonization and persistence in the lung, consistent with the characteristics of multidrug-resistant microbial communities that are commonly observed in patients with severe lung disease.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Jul 29 2017


  • Journal Article


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