Human gut microbiota, including viruses, fungi, bacteria, is necessary for human well being. Many conditions, including neurological disease, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, diabetics, obesity, all have associations with an imbalance among these bacteria. Researchers are still working out the details. Not many details are available about the viruses (gut virobiota) found in the human gut.
The role of bacteria and microbiome in health and disease is one of the major topics of research. In a particular environment, the microbiome is the sum of all microorganisms. This term is used by some scientists to refer to the sum of the genetic material of these microorganisms. Along with bacteria, the microbiome also includes viruses and fungi. Less attention has been to the mycobiome or virome by scientists. In a range of ecological niches in the human body, viruses have made themselves at home, especially the insides of the nose and mouth and the gut lining.
The viruses found in the human gut are called phages or bacteriophages. To reproduce these viruses require a bacterial host. According to scientists, this close association between bacteria and viruses causes many diseases. It is necessary to know more about virobiota and their collective genomes. This will help understand the complex interactions within the gut microbiota and their effect on the human host. Phages are pretty diverse and unique in each individual. Geographical origin, diet, age, and health status influence the individuality of gut viromes. This is a relatively new area of study. The majority of these phages scientists have yet to identify and classify.
From 204 Danish participants, the researchers analyzed 254 faecal samples. This comprises children and adolescents aged 6–18 years and adults aged 40–73 years. Novel Enrichment Technique of Viromes protocol was used by the researchers to purify the stool samples and sequence their genomes. The researchers developed the Danish Enteric Virome Catalog or DEVoC from this data. From consistently processed faecal samples, this is the most extensive human gut virome catalogue generated.
From the study population using DEVoC, they compared 91 healthy gut viromes. Phage genomes were unique to people; in more than ten healthy participants, 39 were present. Among the 39 most common genomes, three appeared to be associated with age. The study results were then cross-referenced with global virome data. Two of the 39 phage genomes showed remarkably high prevalence worldwide.
The advantage of the research is the examination of viral signatures from many different subjects. It has been found that virome is individualized and association with age is there as well. The researchers are just learning how immeasurably complex and diverse is the total phage virome. The next step will be to develop ways to use the functional power of this cryptic genosphere to harness the functional power of this cryptic geosphere to increase the understanding of protein enzymology, predator-prey ecology, and cell biology molecular medicine. According to the researchers, “it would be very interesting to further screen human stool samples for the presence of this phage as well as their genetic relatives, and further, characterize their interactions with their bacterial host.”