Dr Phil Pope

10 January 2019

QIB Lecture Theatre

Speaker: Dr Phil Pope, Associate Professor and ERC Research Fellow, Norwegian University of Life Sciences will present a seminar entitled:

A mechanistic overview of carbohydrate breakdown in host-associated ecosystems

Host: Lindsay Hall


The mammalian gut is an infamous plant fiber-digesting ecosystem, which depending on its host, can harbor a complex mixture of bacteria, archaea, protozoa and fungi that coordinate breakdown of complex dietary carbohydrates into nutrients. Despite extensive efforts to functionally elucidate the gut microbiome, fiber degradation has so far been attributed to a limited number of cultivable representatives that predominantly originate from the human gut. Moreover, the majority of the gut microbiota, their complex interactions and the enzymatic machineries they employ remain poorly understood. Here, we present an overview of our recent efforts, where we combine traditional culturing, meta-omics, bioinformatics, biochemistry and enzymology to investigate the different saccharolytic mechanisms that microbiota employ from both ruminants and monogastric animals. We demonstrate key findings from studies on well-known Roseburia intestinalis and Fibrobacter succinogenes isolates, a novel as-yet uncultured Bacteroidetes family (‘Candidatus MH11’), and large-scale rumen and monogastic (pigs) meta-omics projects that seek to decrypt plant fiber metabolism at a community level. These approaches have revealed new mechanistic information related to the hydrolytic capacity of outer membrane vesicles (OMVs), Polysaccharide utilization loci (PULs) and large multi-modular enzymes. In particular, (meta)genome-resolved metaproteomic data has generated deeper insights into the intricate networks of in situ plant fiber deconstruction, which have led to new sophisticated diets in production animals designed to elicit a response in beneficial butyrate-producing populations.

All staff from organisations on the Norwich Research Park are welcome to attend.