New On Nature.com: Diversity Of Key Players In The Microbial Ecosystems Of The Human Body
Published online on October 30, 2015 by Scientific Reports, this article by Ferenc Jordán, Mario Lauria, Marco Scotti, Thanh-Phuong Nguyen, Paurush Praveen, Melissa Morine and Corrado Priami (University of Trento Centre for Computational and Systems Biology, Italy) is now available to view.
Coexisting bacteria form various microbial communities in human body parts. In these ecosystems they interact in various ways and the properties of the interaction network can be related to the stability and functional diversity of the local bacterial community. In this study, we analyze the interaction network among bacterial OTUs in 11 locations of the human body. These belong to two major groups. One is the digestive system and the other is the female genital tract. In each local ecosystem we determine the key species, both the ones being in key positions in the interaction network and the ones that dominate by frequency. Beyond identifying the key players and discussing their biological relevance, we also quantify and compare the properties of the 11 networks. The interaction networks of the female genital system and the digestive system show totally different architecture. Both the topological properties and the identity of the key groups differ. Key groups represent four phyla of prokaryotes. Some groups appear in key positions in several locations, while others are assigned only to a single body part. The key groups of the digestive and the genital tracts are totally different.