Deep metagenomics examines the oral microbiome during dental caries, revealing novel taxa and co-occurrences with host molecules
Baker JL, Morton JT, Dinis M, Dinis M, Alvarez R, Tran NC, Knight R, Edlund A
Dental caries, the most common chronic infectious disease worldwide, has a complex etiology involving the interplay of microbial and host factors that are not completely understood. In this study, the oral microbiome and 38 host cytokines and chemokines were analyzed across 23 children with caries and 24 children with healthy dentition. De novo assembly of metagenomic sequencing obtained 527 metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs), representing 150 bacterial species. Forty-two of these species had no genomes in public repositories, thereby representing novel taxa. These new genomes greatly expanded the known pangenomes of many oral clades, including the enigmatic Saccharibacteria clades G3 and G6, which had distinct functional repertoires compared to other oral Saccharibacteria. Saccharibacteria are understood to be obligate epibionts, which are dependent on host bacteria. These data suggest that the various Saccharibacteria clades may rely on their hosts for highly distinct metabolic requirements, which would have significant evolutionary and ecological implications. Across the study group, , , and spp. were associated with good dental health, whereas spp., , and (Epstein-Barr virus [EBV]) were more prevalent in children with caries. Finally, 10 of the host immunological markers were significantly elevated in the caries group, and co-occurrence analysis provided an atlas of potential relationships between microbes and host immunological molecules. Overall, this study illustrated the oral microbiome at an unprecedented resolution and contributed several leads for further study that will increase the understanding of caries pathogenesis and guide therapeutic development.