The Gut Microbiota and their Metabolites: Potential Implications for the Host Epigenome

Mona Mischke, Torsten Plösch

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The gut microbiota represents a metabolically active biomass of up to 2 kg in adult humans. Microbiota-derived molecules significantly contribute to the host metabolism. Large amounts of bacterial metabolites are taken up by the host and are subsequently utilized by the human body. For instance, short chain fatty acids produced by the gut microbiota are a major energy source of humans.

It is widely accepted that microbiota-derived metabolites are used as fuel for beta-oxidation (short chain fatty acids) and participate in many metabolic processes (vitamins, such as folic acid). Apart from these direct metabolic effects, it also becomes more and more evident that these metabolites can interact with the mammalian epigenetic machinery. By interacting with histones and DNA they may be able to manipulate the host's chromatin state and functionality and hence its physiology and health.

In this chapter, we summarize the current knowledge on possible interactions of different bacterial metabolites with the mammalian epigenetic machinery, mostly based on in vitro data. We discuss the putative impact on chromatin marks, for example histone modifications and DNA methylation. Subsequently, we speculate about possible beneficial and adverse consequences for the epigenome, the physiology and health of the host, as well as plausible future applications of this knowledge for in vivo translation to support personal health.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMICROBIOTA OF THE HUMAN BODY: IMPLICATIONS IN HEALTH AND DISEASE
Subtitle of host publicationImplications in Health and Disease
EditorsAndreas Schwiertz
PublisherSPRINGER INT PUBLISHING AG
Pages33-44
Number of pages12
Volume902
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-31248-4
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-31246-0
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Volume902
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)0065-2598

Keywords

  • Bacterial metabolites
  • Epigenetics
  • (early life) programming
  • (early life) nutrition
  • DNA methylation
  • Histone modification
  • Breast feeding
  • CHAIN FATTY-ACIDS
  • HISTONE-DEACETYLASE ACTIVITY
  • ONE-CARBON METABOLISM
  • DNA METHYLATION
  • EPIGENETIC REGULATION
  • CELL-PROLIFERATION
  • GENE-EXPRESSION
  • INTESTINAL MICROBIOTA
  • HEALTH
  • NUTRITION

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