Metatranscriptome of the Oral Microbiome in Health and Disease.

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PubMed ID: 29518346

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Solbiati J, Frias-Lopez J

J Dent Res. Mar 2018. doi: 10.1177/0022034518761644

COMMENT: Imbalance in the composition of the microbiome, also referred to as microbial dysbiosis, is directly linked to developing certain conditions. Dysbiosis of the oral microbiome is a prime example of how this imbalance leads to disease in the case of periodontal disease. However, there is considerable overlap in the phylogenetic profiles of microbial communities associated with active and inactive lesions, suggesting that the difference in periodontal status of those sites may not be explained solely by differences in the subgingival microbial composition.

These findings suggest that differences in functional activities may be the essential elements that define the dysbiotic process. Researchers have recently begun to study gene expression of the oral microbiome in situ with the goal of identifying changes in functional activities that could explain the transition from health to disease. These initial results suggest that, rather than a specific composition, a better understanding of oral dysbiosis can be obtained from the study of functional activities of the microbial community.

In this review, the authors present recent studies that focused on the metatranscriptome of the oral community. These studies are the starting point for the identification of critical environmental signals that modify the behavior of the community from commensal to dysbiotic. These studies give insight into how microbial communities behave. In the case of caries, sugar metabolism was identified as a central element that distinguishes health and disease.


Javier Velasco