Complex glycan catabolism by the human gut microbiota: The bacteroidetes sus-like paradigm

Eric C. Martens, Nicole M. Koropatkin, Thomas J. Smith, Jeffrey I. Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalShort survey

317 Scopus citations


Trillions of microbes inhabit the distal gut of adult humans. They have evolved to compete efficiently for nutrients, including a wide array of chemically diverse, complex glycans present in our diets, secreted by our intestinal mucosa, and displayed on the surfaces of other gut microbes. Here, we review how members of the Bacteroidetes, one of two dominant gut-associated bacterial phyla, process complex glycans using a series of similarly patterned, cell envelope-associated multiprotein systems. These systems provide insights into how gut, as well as terrestrial and aquatic, Bacteroidetes survive in highly competitive ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24673-24677
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number37
StatePublished - Sep 11 2009
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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