Forty years ago, archaea were described as a separate domain of life, distinct from bacteria and eukarya. Although it is known for quite a long time that methanogenic archaea are substantial components of the human gastrointestinal tract (GIT) and the oral cavity, the knowledge on the human archaeome is very limited. Various methodological problems contribute to the invisibility of the human archaeome, resulting in severe knowledge gaps and contradictory information. Similar to the bacteriome, the archaeal biogeography was found to be site-specific, forming (i) the thaumarchaeal skin landscape, (ii) the (methano)euryarchaeal GIT landscape, (iii) a mixed skin/GIT landscape in nose, and (iv) a woesearchaeal lung landscape, including numerous unknown archaeal clades. Compared with so-called universal microbiome approaches, archaea-specific protocols reveal a wide diversity and high quantity of archaeal signatures in various human tissues, with up to 1 : 1 ratios of bacteria and archaea in appendix and nose samples. The archaeome interacts closely with the bacteriome and the human body cells, whereas the roles of the human-associated archaea with respect to human health are only sparsely described. Methanogenic archaea and methane production were correlated with many health issues, including constipation, periodontitis and multiple sclerosis. However, one of the most burning questions — do archaeal pathogens exist? — still remains obscure to date.
The human archaeome: methodological pitfalls and knowledge gaps
- Views Icon Views
- Share Icon Share
Nicholas P. Robinson, Alexander Mahnert, Marcus Blohs, Manuela-Raluca Pausan, Christine Moissl-Eichinger; The human archaeome: methodological pitfalls and knowledge gaps. Emerg Top Life Sci 14 December 2018; 2 (4): 469–482. doi: https://doi.org/10.1042/ETLS20180037
Download citation file: