A review about commensal bacteria making GPCR ligands that mimic human signaling molecules

Yu Dai


Although the human microbiome is important to human physiology, the mechanisms are poorly explained. Human microbiome (including commensal bacteria) and human cells communicate closely through signaling molecules. This review focuses on identifying these signaling molecules and host receptors. By using the techniques of bioinformatics and synthetic biology, Brady et al. from Rockefeller University discovered that one of the metabolites of gastrointestinal bacteria, N-acyl amides, are ligands of G-protein-coupled-receptors (GPCRs). The interaction between N-acyl and a kind of GPCRs called GPR119 can regulate metabolic hormones and glucose homeostasis. This research illustrated that the chemical mimicry of signaling molecules may be common among commensal bacteria. We can genetically edit the gastrointestinal bacteria, allowing bacteria to produce N- acyl amides, which presents a possible microbiome-biosynthetic gene therapy for relating diseases.

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