Dynamic changes of yak (Bos grunniens) gut microbiota during growth revealed by polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and metagenomics

  • Nie, Yuanyang (Key Laboratory of Biological Resources and Ecological Environment, College of Life Sciences, Sichuan University) ;
  • Zhou, Zhiwei (Key Laboratory of Biological Resources and Ecological Environment, College of Life Sciences, Sichuan University) ;
  • Guan, Jiuqiang (Sichuan Grassland Science Academy) ;
  • Xia, Baixue (Key Laboratory of Biological Resources and Ecological Environment, College of Life Sciences, Sichuan University) ;
  • Luo, Xiaolin (Sichuan Grassland Science Academy) ;
  • Yang, Yang (Key Laboratory of Biological Resources and Ecological Environment, College of Life Sciences, Sichuan University) ;
  • Fu, Yu (Key Laboratory of Biological Resources and Ecological Environment, College of Life Sciences, Sichuan University) ;
  • Sun, Qun (Key Laboratory of Biological Resources and Ecological Environment, College of Life Sciences, Sichuan University)
  • Received : 2016.10.26
  • Accepted : 2017.01.11
  • Published : 2017.07.01


Objective: To understand the dynamic structure, function, and influence on nutrient metabolism in hosts, it was crucial to assess the genetic potential of gut microbial community in yaks of different ages. Methods: The denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) profiles and Illumina-based metagenomic sequencing on colon contents of 15 semi-domestic yaks were investigated. Unweighted pairwise grouping method with mathematical averages (UPGMA) clustering and principal component analysis (PCA) were used to analyze the DGGE fingerprint. The Illumina sequences were assembled, predicted to genes and functionally annotated, and then classified by querying protein sequences of the genes against the Kyoto encyclopedia of genes and genomes (KEGG) database. Results: Metagenomic sequencing showed that more than 85% of ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene sequences belonged to the phylum Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes, indicating that the family Ruminococcaceae (46.5%), Rikenellaceae (11.3%), Lachnospiraceae (10.0%), and Bacteroidaceae (6.3%) were dominant gut microbes. Over 50% of non-rRNA gene sequences represented the metabolic pathways of amino acids (14.4%), proteins (12.3%), sugars (11.9%), nucleotides (6.8%), lipids (1.7%), xenobiotics (1.4%), coenzymes, and vitamins (3.6%). Gene functional classification showed that most of enzyme-coding genes were related to cellulose digestion and amino acids metabolic pathways. Conclusion: Yaks' age had a substantial effect on gut microbial composition. Comparative metagenomics of gut microbiota in 0.5-, 1.5-, and 2.5-year-old yaks revealed that the abundance of the class Clostridia, Bacteroidia, and Lentisphaeria, as well as the phylum Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Lentisphaerae, Tenericutes, and Cyanobacteria, varied more greatly during yaks' growth, especially in young animals (0.5 and 1.5 years old). Gut microbes, including Bacteroides, Clostridium, and Lentisphaeria, make a contribution to the energy metabolism and synthesis of amino acid, which are essential to the normal growth of yaks.


Polymerase Chain Reaction-Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE);Metagenomic Sequencing;Metabolic Pathways;Gut Microbiota;Yak


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