Commun Biol 3 (1) 485 [2020-09-04; online 2020-09-04]
Segmented filamentous bacteria (SFB) are unique immune modulatory bacteria colonizing the small intestine of a variety of animals in a host-specific manner. SFB exhibit filamentous growth and attach to the host's intestinal epithelium, offering a physical route of interaction. SFB affect functions of the host immune system, among them IgA production and T-cell maturation. Until now, no human-specific SFB genome has been reported. Here, we report the metagenomic reconstruction of an SFB genome from a human ileostomy sample. Phylogenomic analysis clusters the genome with SFB genomes from mouse, rat and turkey, but the genome is genetically distinct, displaying 65-71% average amino acid identity to the others. By screening human faecal metagenomic datasets, we identified individuals carrying sequences identical to the new SFB genome. We thus conclude that a unique SFB variant exists in humans and foresee a renewed interest in the elucidation of SFB functionality in this environment.