Sunday, 11 February 2018

How good bacteria control your genes


Scientists have discovered a way that bacteria in the gut can control genes in our cells. Their work shows that chemical messages from bacteria can alter chemical markers throughout the human genome. The signal chemicals are made when bacteria digest fruits and vegetables. By communicating in this way, the bacteria may help to fight infections and to prevent cancer.

This new research shows that the short chain fatty acids increase the number of chemical markers on our genes. These markers, called crotonylations, were only discovered recently and are a new addition to the chemical annotations in the genome that are collectively called epigenetic markers. The team showed that short chain fatty acids increase the number of crotonylations by shutting down a protein called HDAC2. Scientists think that changes in crotonylation can alter gene activity by turning genes on or off.

The team studied mice that had lost most of the bacteria in their gut and showed that their cells contained more of the HDAC2 protein than normal. Other research has shown that an increase in HDAC2 can be linked to an increased risk of colorectal cancer (here and here). This could mean that regulating crotonylation in the genome of gut cells is important for preventing cancer. It also highlights the important role of good bacteria and a healthy diet in this process.

See:

Rachel Fellows, Jérémy Denizot, Claudia Stellato, Alessandro Cuomo, Payal Jain, Elena Stoyanova, Szabina Balázsi, Zoltán Hajnády, Anke Liebert, Juri Kazakevych, Hector Blackburn, Renan Oliveira Corrêa, José Luís Fachi, Fabio Takeo Sato, Willian R. Ribeiro, Caroline Marcantonio Ferreira, Hélène Perée, Mariangela Spagnuolo, Raphaël Mattiuz, Csaba Matolcsi, Joana Guedes, Jonathan Clark, Marc Veldhoen, Tiziana Bonaldi, Marco Aurélio Ramirez Vinolo, Patrick Varga-Weisz. Microbiota derived short chain fatty acids promote histone crotonylation in the colon through histone deacetylasesNature Communications, 2018; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-02651-5


Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle

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