Functional Dynamics of the Elderly Gut Microbiome During Probiotic Consumption
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A mechanistic understanding of the health benefits conferred by consumption of probiotic bacteria has been limited by our knowledge of the resident gut microbiota and its interaction with the host. We used fecal samples from a study of twelve healthy individuals aged 65-80 to characterize the structure and functional dynamics of the gut microbiota associated with consumption of the single-organism probiotic, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG ATCC 53103 (LGG). Samples were collected prior to probiotic consumption (day 0), on day 28 immediately after consuming 10^10 CFU of LGG twice daily for 28 days and day 56, one month after stopping LGG consumption. Our integrative approach incorporated bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequencing, whole-community expression profiling using RNA-seq, and metagenomic sequencing. We highlight the value of combinatorial 'omics methods and concomitant high-resolution informatics to probe the role that probiotics may play on the structure and function of the resident microbiota.