Sulfonolipids as novel metabolite markers of Alistipes and Odoribacter affected by high-fat diets
The gut microbiota generates a huge pool of unknown metabolites, and their identification and characterization is a key challenge in metabolomics. However, there are still gaps on the studies of gut microbiota and their chemical structures. In this investigation, an unusual class of bacterial sulfonolipids (SLs) is detected in mouse cecum, which was originally found in environmental microbes. We have performed a detailed molecular level characterization of this class of lipids by combining high-resolution mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography analysis. Eighteen SLs that differ in their capnoid and fatty acid chain compositions were identified. The SL called “sulfobacin B” was isolated, characterized, and was significantly increased in mice fed with high-fat diets. To reveal bacterial producers of SLs, metagenome analysis was acquired and only two bacterial genera, i.e., Alistipes and Odoribacter, were revealed to be responsible for their production. This knowledge enables explaining a part of the molecular complexity introduced by microbes to the mammalian gastrointestinal tract and can be used as chemotaxonomic evidence in gut microbiota.