Enterosignatures (ES) are microbial guilds composed of co-occurring genera that can be combined to accurately describe the microbiome composition of the human gut microbiome.
We identified 5 ES in a large meta-cohort of more than 5000 samples spanning 13 countries and all ages of life (Hildebrand et al 2021). Each ES was dominated by a genus or a group of genera associated to a phylum. Samples were mostly described by the association of two or three ES of varying relative abundance. We demonstrated that the ES composition of individuals is subject to long-term changes during lifetime but is also sensitive to sporadic perturbations such as antibiotic treatments.
We found associations between the ES composition of samples and health and disease markers. In addition, we hypothesise that low fitting to this five-ES model can be an indicator of an atypical microbiome composition.
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ES-Bact is dominated by genus Bacteroides. It is a founder population of the human gut microbiome that appears early in infants. Its relative abundance prevails in recovering microbiomes, and is strongly associated to antibiotic treatments.
ES-Firm is a guild composed of weak signals from a large number of Firmicutes genera together with Alistipes. While this ES is almost never present as a mono-dominating ES, it is present as primary or secondary ES in a majority of individuals and associates to healthy markers.
ES-Prev is mostly composed of the Prevotella genus. Its prevalence seems to be similar to ES-Bact’s but it tends to be superseded by the latter in case of microbiome perturbations and appears later in life.
ES-Bifi is mostly represented by Bifidobacterium but is also composed of Streptococcus and Enterococcus genera. It prevails in early microbiome maturation in infants before declining in abundance, and becomes less persistent with the ageing microbiome.