The long-term objective of this research is to characterize the cultivable and currently uncultivated microorganisms present in the human oral cavity (microbiome) and all of their genes (metagenome) in order to develop an integrated view of host-microbiome interactions in health and disease. The objectives of this project are to define the unnamed and uncultured oral taxa and to obtain broad metagenomic sequence information that is representative of the phylogenetic diversity of these microorganisms. Recent studies have identified almost 800 species in the oral cavity, of which 35% are named, 11% unnamed but represented by strains, and 54% are unnamed and known only as 16S rRNA sequence phylotypes. There is currently no naming scheme for the unnamed 65% of the microbiome, thus it is nearly impossible to link sequence, phenotypic, prevalence, disease association, and bibliographic information.
Aim 1 will make it possible to link these important types of data by naming the unnamed phylotypes, and establishing a curated, Internet-accessible Human Oral Microbiome Database for all prokaryotic oral taxa. There are species from 121 genera in the oral cavity and only minimal genomic information exists for half of these genera.
Aim 2 will obtain partial genome sequences for 105 phylogenetically diverse human oral bacteria. Genomic libraries for each species will be constructed and 384 clones will be sequenced from each end, yielding 10%-20% genome coverage for each species. This will add information on 600 genes and proteins for each species and over 60,000 new gene sequences to the oral metagenome. These phylogenetically diverse sequences will facilitate attribution of contigs to specific genera or species in other metagenome projects. Currently, 65% of oral prokaryotes are known only as phylotypes based on 16S rRNA sequences. Meaningful biological characterization requires having living organisms to manipulate on the bench.
Aim 3 will identify and deposit reference strains of approximately 200 unnamed oral phylotypes. Strains from phenotypically characterized investigator culture collections will be identified by 16S rRNA sequence analysis and novel reference strains deposited with the American Type Culture Collection. This proposal will significantly enhance our understanding of the human microbiome and allow eventual understanding of its interaction with the host in oral health and disease. This proposal is in response to PA-04-131, Metagenomic Analyses of the Oral Microbiome. This research will help us to understand the several hundred bacteria that live in the human oral cavity and their genes. These bacteria can cause tooth decay, periodontal disease, and infections elsewhere in the body. Knowing more about these many bacteria will allow scientists to develop better methods for treating and preventing oral diseases.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
Research Project--Cooperative Agreements (U01)
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Genetic Variation and Evolution Study Section (GVE)
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Lunsford, Dwayne
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Forsyth Institute
United States
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