Identifying a Novel Bile Salt Hydrolase from the Keystone Gut Bacterium Christensenella minuta

Jun 9, 2021

by Guillaume Déjean, Héloïse Tudela, Lisa Bruno, Déborah Kissi, Georges Rawadi and Sandrine P. Claus

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Christensenella minuta are human gut dwelling bacteria that have been proposed as key members of the gut microbiome, regulating energy balance and adiposity of their host. We formerly identified that a novel strain of C. minuta (strain DSM33407) boosted microbiota diversity and stimulated deconjugation of the primary bile acid taurocholic acid in human samples. However, there is no description of a bile salt hydrolase (BSH) protein carried in the genome of C. minuta.

Here, we identified and cloned a protein from C. minuta’s genome that carries a potent BSH activity, which preferentially deconjugates glycine-conjugated bile acids.

We then retrieved 14,319 putative BSH sequences from the NCBI database and filtered them using the UHGP database to collect a total of 6701 sequences that were used to build the most comprehensive phylogenetic tree of BSH-related enzymes identified in the human microbiome so far. This phylogenetic tree revealed that C. minuta’s BSH amino acid sequence clusters away from others with a threshold of 70% identity.

This is therefore the first description of C. minuta’s BSH protein, which may be involved in its unique role within the human gut microbial ecosystem.

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