Bile acid oxidation by Eggerthella lenta strains C592 and DSM 2243T

Spencer C. Harris, Saravanan Devendran, Celia Méndez- García, Sean M. Mythen, Chris L. Wright, Christopher J. Fields, Alvaro G. Hernandez, Isaac Cann, Phillip B. Hylemon, Jason M. Ridlon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Strains of Eggerthella lenta are capable of oxidation-reduction reactions capable of oxidizing and epimerizing bile acid hydroxyl groups. Several genes encoding these enzymes, known as hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases (HSDH) have yet to be identified. It is also uncertain whether the products of E. lenta bile acid metabolism are further metabolized by other members of the gut microbiota. We characterized a novel human fecal isolate identified as E. lenta strain C592. The complete genome of E. lenta strain C592 was sequenced and comparative genomics with the type strain (DSM 2243) revealed high conservation, but some notable differences. E. lenta strain C592 falls into group III, possessing 3α, 3β, 7α, and 12α-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (HSDH) activity, as determined by mass spectrometry of thin layer chromatography (TLC) separated metabolites of primary and secondary bile acids. Incubation of E. lenta oxo-bile acid and iso-bile acid metabolites with whole-cells of the high-activity bile acid 7α-dehydroxylating bacterium, Clostridium scindens VPI 12708, resulted in minimal conversion of oxo-derivatives to lithocholic acid (LCA). Further, Iso-chenodeoxycholic acid (iso-CDCA; 3β,7α-dihydroxy-5β-cholan-24-oic acid) was not metabolized by C. scindens. We then located a gene encoding a novel 12α-HSDH in E. lenta DSM 2243, also encoded by strain C592, and the recombinant purified enzyme was characterized and substrate-specificity determined. Genomic analysis revealed genes encoding an Rnf complex (rnfABCDEG), an energy conserving hydrogenase (echABCDEF) complex, as well as what appears to be a complete Wood-Ljungdahl pathway. Our prediction that by changing the gas atmosphere from nitrogen to hydrogen, bile acid oxidation would be inhibited, was confirmed. These results suggest that E. lenta is an important bile acid metabolizing gut microbe and that the gas atmosphere may be an important and overlooked regulator of bile acid metabolism in the gut.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)523-539
Number of pages17
JournalGut Microbes
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2 2018


  • 7α-dehydroxylation
  • Eggerthella
  • Rnf complex
  • bile acid
  • hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Gastroenterology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Microbiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Bile acid oxidation by Eggerthella lenta strains C592 and DSM 2243T'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this