Recent advances in microbiome sequencing have rendered new insights into the role of the microbiome in human health with potential clinical implications. Unfortunately, developments in the field of tissue microbiomes have been hampered by the presence of host DNA in isolates which interferes with the analysis of the bacterial content. Here, we present a DNA isolation protocol from tissue samples including reduction of host DNA without distortion of microbial abundance profiles. We evaluated which concentrations of Triton and saponin lyse host cells and leave bacterial cells intact, which was combined with DNAse treatment to deplete released host DNA. We applied our protocol to extract microbial DNA from ex vivo and in vivo acquired human colon biopsies (∼2-5 mm in size) and assessed the relative abundance of bacterial and human DNA by qPCR. Saponin at a concentration of 0.0125% in PBS lysed host cells, resulting in a 4.5-fold enrichment of bacterial DNA while preserving the relative abundance of Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, γ-Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria . Our protocol combined with shotgun metagenomic sequencing revealed a colon tissue microbiome profile with a Shannon diversity index of 3.2 and an UniFrac distance of 0.54, which is comparable to reported numbers based on amplicon sequencing. Hereby, we present the first protocol for enriching bacterial DNA from tissue biopsies that allows efficient isolation of rigid Gram-positive bacteria without depleting the more sensitive Gram-negative bacteria. Our protocol facilitates analysis of a wide spectrum of bacteria of clinical tissue samples improving their applicability for microbiome research.
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