Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
International Journal of Microbiology
Volume 2017, Article ID 9547063, 9 pages
Research Article

Feasibility of Metatranscriptome Analysis from Infant Gut Microbiota: Adaptation to Solid Foods Results in Increased Activity of Firmicutes at Six Months

1Laboratory of Microbiology, Wageningen University, Dreijenplein 10, 6703 HB Wageningen, Netherlands
2Department of Basic Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
3Functional Foods Forum, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
4Laboratory of Systems and Synthetic Biology, Wageningen University, Dreijenplein 10, 6703 HB Wageningen, Netherlands
5RPU Immunobiology, Department of Bacteriology and Immunology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

Correspondence should be addressed to Willem M. de Vos; ln.ruw@soved.melliw

Received 12 April 2017; Revised 17 June 2017; Accepted 4 July 2017; Published 24 August 2017

Academic Editor: Barbara H. Iglewski

Copyright © 2017 Floor Hugenholtz et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Newborns are rapidly colonized by microbes and their intestinal tracts contain highly dynamic and rapidly developing microbial communities in the first months of life. In this study, we describe the feasibility of isolating mRNA from rapidly processed faecal samples and applying deep RNA-Seq analysis to provide insight into the active contributors of the microbial community in early life. Specific attention is given to the impact of removing rRNA from the mRNA on the phylogenetic and transcriptional profiling and its analysis depth. A breastfed baby was followed in the first six months of life during adaptation to solid food, dairy products, and formula. It was found that, in the weaning period, the total transcriptional activity of Actinobacteria, mainly represented by Bifidobacterium, decreased while that of Firmicutes increased over time. Moreover, Firmicutes and Actinobacteria, including the canonical Bifidobacteria as well as Collinsella, were found to be important contributors to carbohydrate fermentation and vitamin biosynthesis in the infant intestine. Finally, the expression of Lactobacillus rhamnosus-like genes was detected, likely following transfer from the mother who consumed L. rhamnosus GG. The study indicates that metatranscriptome analysis of the infant gut microbiota is feasible on infant stool samples and can be used to provide insight into the core activities of the developing community.