Bacteriophage-mediated manipulation of the gut microbiome – promises and present limitations

Author: Rasmussen, T. S.; Koefoed, A. K.; Jakobsen, R. R.; Deng, L.; Castro-Mejía, J. L.; Brunse, A.; Neve, H.; Vogensen, F. K. & Nielsen, D. S.

Description: Gut microbiome (GM) composition and function are linked to human health and disease, and routes for manipulating the GM have become an area of intense research. Due to its high treatment efficacy, the use of fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is generally accepted as a promising experimental treatment for patients suffering from GM imbalances (dysbiosis), e.g. caused by recurrent Clostridioides difficile infections (rCDI). Mounting evidence suggests that bacteriophages (phages) play a key role in successful FMT treatment by restoring the dysbiotic bacterial GM. As a refinement to FMT, removing the bacterial component of donor feces by sterile filtration, also referred to as fecal virome transplantation (FVT), decreases the risk of invasive infections caused by bacteria. However, eukaryotic viruses and prophage-encoded virulence factors remain a safety issue. Recent in vivo studies show how cascading effects are initiated when phage communities are transferred to the gut by e.g. FVT, which leads to changes in the GM composition, host metabolome, and improve host health such as alleviating symptoms of obesity and type-2-diabetes (T2D). In this review, we discuss the promises and limitations of FVT along with the perspectives of using FVT to treat various diseases associated with GM dysbiosis.

Subject headings: Microbiome; Microbiota; Bacteriophage; Health; Human; Disease; Fecal microbiota transplantation; Fecal virome transplantation

Publication year: 2020

Journal or book title: FEMS Microbiology Reviews

Volume: 44

Issue: 4

Pages: 507-521

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Type: Journal article

Serial number: 3088

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