Profiling bacterial community in upper respiratory tracts

Hana Yi, Dongeun Yong, Kyungwon Lee, Yong Joon Cho, Jongsik Chun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Infection by pathogenic viruses results in rapid epithelial damage and significantly impacts on the condition of the upper respiratory tract, thus the effects of viral infection may induce changes in microbiota. Thus, we aimed to define the healthy microbiota and the viral pathogen-affected microbiota in the upper respiratory tract. In addition, any association between the type of viral agent and the resultant microbiota profile was assessed. Methods: We analyzed the upper respiratory tract bacterial content of 57 healthy asymptomatic people (17 health-care workers and 40 community people) and 59 patients acutely infected with influenza, parainfluenza, rhino, respiratory syncytial, corona, adeno, or metapneumo viruses using culture-independent pyrosequencing. Results: The healthy subjects harbored primarily Streptococcus, whereas the patients showed an enrichment of Haemophilus or Moraxella. Quantifying the similarities between bacterial populations by using Fast UniFrac analysis indicated that bacterial profiles were apparently divisible into 6 oropharyngeal types in the tested subjects. The oropharyngeal types were not associated with the type of viruses, but were rather linked to the age of the subjects. Moraxella nonliquefaciens exhibited unprecedentedly high abundance in young subjects aged < 6 years. The genome of M. nonliquefaciens was found to encode various proteins that may play roles in pathogenesis. Conclusions: This study identified 6 oropharyngeal microbiome types. No virus-specific bacterial profile was discovered, but comparative analysis of healthy adults and patients identified a bacterium specific to young patients, M. nonliquefaciens.

Original languageEnglish
Article number583
JournalBMC infectious diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Dr. S Won for his advices on statistical analyses. This work was supported by research funds (2011-E43000-00, 2012-E43001-00, and 2013-E43001-00) of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Yi et al.


  • Healthcare staff
  • Influenza
  • Microbiome
  • Moraxella
  • Oropharynx
  • Respiratory tract

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases


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