Metraproteomics characterizes human gut microbiome function in colorectal cancer


Pathogenesis of colorectal cancer (CRC) is associated with alterations in gut microbiome. Previous studies have focused on the changes of taxonomic abundances by metagenomics. Variations of the function of intestinal bacteria in CRC patients compared to healthy crowds remain largely unknown. Here we collected fecal samples from CRC patients and healthy volunteers and characterized their microbiome using quantitative metaproteomic method. We have identified and quantified 91,902 peptides, 30,062 gut microbial protein groups, and 195 genera of microbes. Among the proteins, 341 were found significantly different in abundance between the CRC patients and the healthy volunteers. Microbial proteins related to iron intake/transport; oxidative stress; and DNA replication, recombination, and repair were significantly alternated in abundance as a result of high local concentration of iron and high oxidative stress in the large intestine of CRC patients. Our study shows that metaproteomics can provide functional information on intestinal microflora that is of great value for pathogenesis research, and can help guide clinical diagnosis in the future.