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Scientific classification

Shah and Collins 1990

See text.

  • Xylanibacter Ueki et al. 2006

Prevotella is a genus of Gram-negative bacteria.

Prevotella spp. are members of the oral, vaginal, and gut microbiota and are often recovered from anaerobic infections of the respiratory tract. These infections include aspiration pneumonia, lung abscess, pulmonary empyema, and chronic otitis media and sinusitis. They have been isolated from abscesses and burns in the vicinity of the mouth, bites, paronychia, urinary tract infection, brain abscesses, osteomyelitis, and bacteremia associated with upper respiratory tract infections. Prevotella spp. predominate in periodontal disease and periodontal abscesses.[1]

Role in gut microbiota[edit]

Research of human microbiota show that human gut is mainly inhabited by two phyla of bacteria – Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes, the latter mostly dominated by Bacteroides and Prevotella genera. Prevotella and Bacteroides are thought to have had a common ancestor.[2] Formally, the two genera were differentiated in 1990.[3] However classification is still undergoing, for example Bacteroides melaninogenicus has been reclassified and split into Prevotella melaninogenica and Prevotella intermedia.[4] Either Prevotella or Bacteroides dominate the gut and they have been theorized to be antagonistic. Prevotella is more common in non-Westernised populations consuming a plant-rich diet. In Western populations it has also been associated with vegetarian or Mediterranean diets rich in fruits and vegetables. In accordance, genome analysis of Prevotella copri showed it was deficient in the ability to degrade host glycans and is more genetically equipped for plant glycan degradation.[2] In a study of gut bacteria of children in Burkina Faso (in Africa), Prevotella made up 53% of the gut bacteria but were absent in age-matched European children.[5]

Studies suggest that long-term diet is strongly associated with the gut microbiome composition—those who eat protein and animal fats typical of Western diet have predominantly Bacteroides bacteria, while for those who consume more carbohydrates, especially fibre, the Prevotella species dominate.[6]

Prevotella has been associated with gut inflammation. It was demonstrated that increased levels of P. copri might contribute to chronic inflammation in HIV patients. One single species isolate P. copri CB7 has been used for different studies that showed it can be beneficial or detrimental, depending on the context.[2] Prevotella is a large genus with high species diversity and high genetic diversity between strains. A recent study on Prevotella derived from humans compared the gene repertoires of its species derived from different body sites of human. It also reported an open pan- genome showing a vast diversity of the gene pool.[7] In addition to genetic and overall microbiota differences in host the high genetic variety of Prevotella makes it difficult to predict their function that can be different in different individuals.[2]

Role in vaginal microbiota[edit]

Prevotella species are also common vaginal commensals. Increased abundance of Prevotella in vaginal mucosa has been associated to bacterial vaginosis. Prevotella was shown to be the most heritable bacterial group in vaginal microbiome and its abundance was linked to body mass index and hormonal milieu. Prevotella bivia produces lipopolysaccharides and ammonia that are part of vaginal mucus. It is also associated with epithelial cytokine production and enhances the growth of other bacterial vaginosis-associated organisms, such as Gardnerella vaginalis. The latter in turn was found to stimulate growth of P. bivia.[8]


Prevotella intermedia and Prevotella nigrescens were associated with inflammatory periodontal diseases, such as pregnancy gingivitis, acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis and adult periodontitis. Together with Porphyromonas gingivalis they are known as black-pigmenting anaerobes. All three require haemin as the source of iron for their growth. These species were shown to bind lactoferrin that is released together with the contents of neutrophils during inflammation and bleeding in periodontitis patients. Lactoferrin inhibits the growth of P. gingivalis but not the Prevotella species.[9] Inorganic iron and iron-binding proteins such as transferrin and lactoferrin do not support the growth of P. intermedia, however hemin–iron-containing compounds which include hemin, human hemoglobin, bovine hemoglobin, and bovine catalase stimulate the growth of Prevotella intermedia.[10] Hemoglobin-binding protein on the cell surface of P.intermedia has been described.[11]

P. copri has been correlated with onset of rheumatoid arthritis.[12]

An overgrowth of Prevotella and a reduction of Lactobacillus have been correlated with the onset of osteomyelitis in mice. The reduction of Prevotella in model mice led to an increase of Lactobacillus showing a protection effect against osteomyelitis. Thus, changes in the microbiota Prevotella may be related to the development of osteomyelitis.[13]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tanaka S, Yoshida M, Murakami Y, et al. (2008). "The relationship of Prevotella intermedia, Prevotella nigrescens and Prevotella melaninogenica in the supragingival plaque of children, caries and oral malodor". J Clin Pediatr Dent. 32 (3): 195–200. doi:10.17796/jcpd.32.3.vp657177815618l1. PMID 18524268.
  2. ^ a b c d Ley, Ruth E. (February 2016). "Gut microbiota in 2015: Prevotella in the gut: choose carefully". Nature Reviews. Gastroenterology & Hepatology. 13 (2): 69–70. doi:10.1038/nrgastro.2016.4. ISSN 1759-5053. PMID 26828918. S2CID 30114888.
  3. ^ Shah, H. N.; Collins, D. M. (April 1990). "Prevotella, a new genus to include Bacteroides melaninogenicus and related species formerly classified in the genus Bacteroides". International Journal of Systematic Bacteriology. 40 (2): 205–208. doi:10.1099/00207713-40-2-205. ISSN 0020-7713. PMID 2223612.
  4. ^ "Bacteroides Infection: Overview - eMedicine". Retrieved 2008-12-11.
  5. ^ De Filippo, C.; Cavalieri, D.; Di Paola, M.; Ramazzotti, M.; Poullet, J. B.; Massart, S.; Collini, S.; Pieraccini, G.; Lionetti, P. (2010). "The impact of diet in shaping gut microbiota is revealed by a comparative study in children from Europe and rural Africa" (PDF). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 107 (33): 14691–6. Bibcode:2010PNAS..10714691D. doi:10.1073/pnas.1005963107. PMC 2930426. PMID 20679230.
  6. ^ Wu GD, Chen J, Hoffmann C, Bittinger K, Chen YY, Keilbaugh SA, Bewtra M, Knights D, Walters WA, Knight R, Sinha R, Gilroy E, Gupta K, Baldassano R, Nessel L, Li H, Bushman FD, Lewis JD (October 7, 2011). "Linking long-term dietary patterns with gut microbial enterotypes". Science. 334 (6052): 105–8. Bibcode:2011Sci...334..105W. doi:10.1126/science.1208344. PMC 3368382. PMID 21885731.
  7. ^ Vinod Kumar Gupta; Narendrakumar M Chaudhari; Suchismitha Iskepalli; Chitra Dutta (March 5, 2015). "Divergences in gene repertoire among the reference Prevotella genomes derived from distinct human body sites". BMC Genomics. 16: 153. doi:10.1186/s12864-015-1350-6. PMC 4359502. PMID 25887946. open access
  8. ^ Randis, Tara M.; Ratner, Adam J. (2019-02-01). "Gardnerella and Prevotella: Co-conspirators in the Pathogenesis of Bacterial Vaginosis". The Journal of Infectious Diseases. 220 (7): 1085–1088. doi:10.1093/infdis/jiy705. ISSN 1537-6613. PMC 6736359. PMID 30715397.
  9. ^ Aguilera, O.; Andrés, M. T.; Heath, J.; Fierro, J. F.; Douglas, C. W. (May 1998). "Evaluation of the antimicrobial effect of lactoferrin on Porphyromonas gingivalis, Prevotella intermedia and Prevotella nigrescens". FEMS Immunology and Medical Microbiology. 21 (1): 29–36. doi:10.1111/j.1574-695X.1998.tb01146.x. ISSN 0928-8244. PMID 9657318.
  10. ^ Folk, Shawn P.; Leung, K.-P. (2002-03-01). "Effects of porphyrins and inorganic iron on the growth of Prevotella intermedia". FEMS Microbiology Letters. 209 (1): 15–21. doi:10.1111/j.1574-6968.2002.tb11103.x. ISSN 0378-1097. PMID 12007648.
  11. ^ Shizukuishi, Satoshi; Minamino, Naoto; Kuboniwa, Masae; Maeda, Kazuhiko; Nagata, Hideki; Guan, Su-Min (2004-06-01). "Purification and characterization of a hemoglobin-binding outer membrane protein of Prevotella intermedia". FEMS Microbiology Letters. 235 (2): 333–339. doi:10.1111/j.1574-6968.2004.tb09607.x. ISSN 0378-1097. PMID 15183882.
  12. ^ Jose U Scher; Andrew Sczesnak; Randy S Longman; Nicola Segata; Carles Ubeda; Craig Bielski; Tim Rostron; Vincenzo Cerundolo; Eric G Pamer; Steven B Abramson; Curtis Huttenhower; Dan R Littman (November 5, 2013). "Expansion of intestinal Prevotella copri correlates with enhanced susceptibility to arthritis". eLife. 2: e01202. doi:10.7554/eLife.01202. PMC 3816614. PMID 24192039.
  13. ^ Lukens, John R.; Gurung, Prajwal; Vogel, Peter; Johnson, Gordon R.; Carter, Robert A.; McGoldrick, Daniel J.; Bandi, Srinivasa Rao; Calabrese, Christopher R.; Walle, Lieselotte Vande (2014-12-11). "Dietary modulation of the microbiome affects autoinflammatory disease". Nature. 516 (7530): 246–249. Bibcode:2014Natur.516..246L. doi:10.1038/nature13788. ISSN 0028-0836. PMC 4268032. PMID 25274309.