Phage–bacteria interaction network in human oral microbiome

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Although increasing knowledge suggests that bacteriophages play important roles in regulating microbial ecosystems, phage–bacteria interaction in human oral cavities remains less understood. Here we performed a metagenomic analysis to explore the composition and variation of oral dsDNA phage populations and potential phage–bacteria interaction. A total of 1,711 contigs assembled with more than 100 Gb shotgun sequencing data were annotated to 104 phages based on their best BLAST matches against the NR database. Bray–Curtis dissimilarities demonstrated that both phage and bacterial composition are highly diverse between periodontally healthy samples but show a trend towards homogenization in diseased gingivae samples. Significantly, according to the CRISPR arrays that record infection relationship between bacteria and phage, we found certain oral phages were able to invade other bacteria besides their putative bacterial hosts. These cross-infective phages were positively correlated with commensal bacteria while were negatively correlated with major periodontal pathogens, suggesting possible connection between these phages and microbial community structure in oral cavities. By characterizing phage–bacteria interaction as networks rather than exclusively pairwise predator–prey relationships, our study provides the first insight into the participation of cross-infective phages in forming human oral microbiota.

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