Vitamin B12 as a modulator of gut microbial ecology

Patrick H. Degnan, Michiko E. Taga, Andrew L. Goodman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

The microbial mechanisms and key metabolites that shape the composition of the human gut microbiota are largely unknown, impeding efforts to manipulate dysbiotic microbial communities toward stability and health. Vitamins, which by definition are not synthesized in sufficient quantities by the host and can mediate fundamental biological processes in microbes, represent an attractive target for reshaping microbial communities. Here, we discuss how vitamin B12 (cobalamin) impacts diverse host-microbe symbioses. Although cobalamin is synthesized by some human gut microbes, it is a precious resource in the gut and is likely not provisioned to the host in significant quantities. However, this vitamin may make an unrecognized contribution in shaping the structure and function of human gut microbial communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)769-778
Number of pages10
JournalCell Metabolism
Volume20
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 4 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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    Degnan, P. H., Taga, M. E., & Goodman, A. L. (2014). Vitamin B12 as a modulator of gut microbial ecology. Cell Metabolism, 20(5), 769-778. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2014.10.002