A genomic view of the human-Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron symbiosis.
The human gut is colonized with a vast community of indigenous microorganisms that help shape our biology. Here, we present the complete genome sequence of the Gram-negative anaerobe Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, a dominant member of our normal distal intestinal microbiota. Its 4779-member proteome includes an elaborate apparatus for acquiring and hydrolyzing otherwise indigestible dietary polysaccharides and an associated environment-sensing system consisting of a large repertoire of extracytoplasmic function sigma factors and one- and two-component signal transduction systems. These and other expanded paralogous groups shed light on the molecular mechanisms underlying symbiotic host-bacterial relationships in our intestine.