Comparative functional analysis of the urinary tract microbiome for individuals with or without calcium oxalate calculi

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Individuals with urinary stone disease (USD) exhibit dysbiosis in the urinary tract and the loss of Lactobacillus that promote urinary tract health. However, the microbial metabolic functions that differentiate individuals with USD from healthy individuals are unknown. The objective of the current study was to determine the microbial functions across prokaryotic, viral, fungal, and protozoan domains that are associated with calcium oxalate (CaOx) stone formers through comparative shotgun metagenomics of midstream, voided urine samples for a small number of patients (n = 5 CaOx stone formers, n = 5 healthy controls). Results revealed that CaOx stone formers had reduced levels of genes associated with oxalate metabolism, as well as transmembrane transport, proteolysis, and oxidation-reduction processes. From 17 draft genomes extracted from the data and > 42,000 full length reference genomes, genes enriched in the Control group mapped overwhelming to Lactobacillus crispatus and those associated with CaOx mapped to Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Burkholderia sp. The microbial functions that differentiated the clinical cohorts are associated with known mechanisms of stone formation. While the prokaryotes most differentiated the CaOx and Control groups, a diverse, trans-domain microbiome was apparent. While our sample numbers were small, results corroborate previous studies and suggest specific microbial metabolic pathways in the urinary tract that modulate stone formation. Future studies that target these metabolic pathways as well as the influence of viruses, fungi, and protozoa on urinary tract physiology is warranted.

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ePub ahead of print