High-fat diet changes fungal microbiomes and interkingdom relationships in the murine gut

Timothy Heisel, Emmanuel Montassier, Abigail Johnson, Gabriel Al-Ghalith, Yi Wei Lin, Li Na Wei, Dan Knights, Cheryl A. Gale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


Dietary fat intake and shifts in gut bacterial community composition are associated with the development of obesity. To date, characterization of microbiota in lean versus obese subjects has been dominated by studies of gut bacteria. Fungi, recently shown to affect gut inflammation, have received little study for their role in obesity. We sought to determine the effects of high-fat diet on fungal and bacterial community structures in a mouse model using the internal transcribed spacer region 2 (ITS2) of fungal ribosomal DNA (rDNA) and the 16S rRNA genes of bacteria. Mice fed a high-fat diet had significantly different abundances of 19 bacterial and 6 fungal taxa than did mice fed standard chow, with high-fat diet causing similar magnitudes of change in overall fungal and bacterial microbiome structures. We observed strong and complex diet-specific coabundance relationships between intra- and interkingdom microbial pairs and dramatic reductions in the number of coabundance correlations in mice fed a high-fat diet compared to those fed standard chow. Furthermore, predicted microbiome functional modules related to metabolism were significantly less abundant in high-fat-diet-fed than in standard-chow-fed mice. These results suggest a role for fungi and interkingdom interactions in the association between gut microbiomes and obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00351-17
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Heisel et al.


  • Fungal-bacterial interactions
  • Fungi
  • High-fat diet
  • Microbiome
  • Obesity


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