Expression of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor contributes to the establishment of intestinal microbial community structure in mice

Iain A. Murray, Robert G. Nichols, Limin Zhang, Andrew D. Patterson, Gary H. Perdew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Environmental and genetic factors represent key components in the establishment/maintenance of the intestinal microbiota. The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) is emerging as a pleiotropic factor, modulating pathways beyond its established role as a xenobiotic sensor. The AHR is known to regulate immune surveillance within the intestine through retention of intraepithelial lymphocytes, functional redistribution of Th17/Treg balance. Consequently, environmental/genetic manipulation of AHR activity likely influences host-microbe homeostasis. Utilizing C57BL6/J Ahr -/+ and Ahr -/- co-housed littermates followed by 18 days of genotypic segregation, we examined the influence of AHR expression upon intestinal microbe composition/functionality and host physiology. 16S sequencing/quantitative PCR (qPCR) revealed significant changes in phyla abundance, particularly Verrucomicrobia together with segmented filamentous bacteria, and an increase in species diversity in Ahr -/- mice following genotypic segregation. Metagenomics/metabolomics indicate microbial composition is associated with functional shifts in bacterial metabolism. Analysis identified Ahr -/- -dependent increases in ileal gene expression, indicating increased inflammatory tone. Transfer of Ahr -/- microbiota to wild-type germ-free mice recapitulated the increase Verrucomicrobia and inflammatory tone, indicating Ahr -/- -microbial dependence. These data suggest a role for the AHR in influencing the community structure of the intestinal microbiota.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number33969
JournalScientific reports
Volume6
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 23 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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