Spectral Imaging to Investigate Spatial Organization of the Human Oral Microbiome
Recorded On: 06/10/2017
Jessica Mark Welch
University of Chicago
The spatial structure of complex natural microbiomes at the micron scale is largely unexplored, yet it is critical to understanding the interactions of individual taxa with one another and with the substrate or host tissue. Using ribosomal RNA sequence analysis and spectral imaging fluorescence in situ hybridization, we are investigating the micron-scale spatial organization of the human oral microbiome. We show that a limited set of bacterial taxa form the structural and spatial framework of dental plaque, consisting of a radially-organized, 10-taxon structure nucleated around the filamentous taxon Corynebacterium. Within this structure, individual taxa localize in ways consistent with their known metabolic requirements. Additional distinctive microbial consortia colonize other sites within the human mouth such as the tongue and buccal mucosa. These complex and highly-organized consortia illustrate how complex spatial organization can emerge from the micron-scale interactions of individual organisms. They provide a framework for understanding the spatial organization and community structure of the human microbiome and the micron-scale taxon-taxon associations of its component taxa.
CMLE Credit: 0.5