Neutrophils are innate immune cells that counter pathogens by many mechanisms including release of antimicrobial proteins such as calprotectin to inhibit bacterial growth. Calprotectin sequesters essential micronutrient metals such as zinc, thereby limiting their availability to microbes, a process termed nutritional immunity. We find that while calprotectin is induced by neutrophils during infection with the gut pathogen Salmonella Typhimurium, calprotectin-mediated metal sequestration does not inhibit S. Typhimurium proliferation. Remarkably, S. Typhimurium overcomes calprotectin-mediated zinc chelation by expressing a high affinity zinc transporter (ZnuABC). A S. Typhimurium znuA mutant impaired for growth in the inflamed gut was rescued in the absence of calprotectin. ZnuABC was also required to promote the growth of S. Typhimurium over that of competing commensal bacteria. Thus, our findings indicate that Salmonella thrives in the inflamed gut by overcoming the zinc sequestration of calprotectin and highlight the importance of zinc acquisition in bacterial intestinal colonization.
Aspirin, non-aspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NA-NSAIDs) and acetaminophen all have biologic effects that might reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. However, epidemiologic data on this question are mixed.
A population-based, case-control study in western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, and western New York State included 902 women with incident epithelial ovarian cancer who were diagnosed between February 2003 to November 2008 and 1,802 matched controls. Regular use (at least 2 tablets per week for 6 months or more) of aspirin, NA-NSAIDs, and acetaminophen before the reference date (9 months before interview date) was assessed by in-person interview. We used logistic regression to calculate adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
The OR for aspirin use was 0.81 (95% CI= 0.63–1.03). Decreased risks were found among women who used aspirin continuously (0.71 [0.54–0.94]) or at a low-standardized daily dose (0.72 [0.53–0.97]), who used aspirin for the prevention of cardiovascular disease (0.72 [0.57–0.97]), who used aspirin more recently, or who used selective COX-2 inhibitors (0.60 [0.39–0.94]). No associations were observed among women using non-selective NA-NSAIDs or acetaminophen.
Risk reductions of ovarian cancer were observed with use of aspirin or selective COX-2 inhibitors. However, the results should be interpreted with caution due to the inherent study limitations and biases.
It is generally well established that catastrophizing exerts a potent influence on individuals' experience of pain and accompanying emotional distress. Further, preliminary evidence has shown that meaningful differences among various pain relevant outcomes (e.g., pain ratings, endogenous pain inhibitory processes) can be attributed to individuals' ethnic background. The mechanisms that might explain ethnic differences in pain outcomes are unclear, and it remains to be fully established whether the relation between ethnicity and pain response may be indirectly affected by pain catastrophizing.
In the current study, we examined differences in pain responses by ethnicity among healthy, young adults (N = 62), and attempted to determine whether such an ethnicity-pain relation was mediated by catastrophizing using the standard Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS) and a modified version of the PCS reflecting situational catastrophizing during a cold pressor task.
Results showed that pain responses varied by ethnicity, as did reported catastrophizing. Catastrophizing mediated the relation between ethnicity and affective and sensory pain responses.
To better explicate our findings, we described the context in which these findings occurred following a ‘who, what, where, when, and why’ approach. This approach provides an efficient description of how our findings align with previous research, while identifying future research that should clarify the theoretical underpinnings of catastrophizing and pain and also inform clinical intervention.
Pain; Pain Quality; Catastrophizing; Sex; Ethnicity
Studies evaluating the association between alcohol intake and ovarian carcinoma (OC) are inconsistent. Because OC and ovarian borderline tumor histologic types differ genetically, molecularly and clinically, large numbers are needed to estimate risk associations.
We pooled data from 12 case-control studies in the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium comprising 5,342 OC cases, 1,455 borderline tumors and 10,358 controls with quantitative information on recent alcohol intake to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) according to frequencies of average daily intakes of beer, wine, liquor and total alcohol.
Total alcohol intake was not associated with all OC: consumption of >3 drinks per day compared to none, OR=0.92, 95% CI=0.76-1.10, P trend=0.27. Among beverage types, a statistically non-significant decreased risk was observed among women who consumed >8 oz/d of wine compared to none (OR=0.83, 95% CI=0.68-1.01, P trend=0.08). This association was more apparent among women with clear cell OC (OR, 0.43; 95% CI, 0.22-0.83; P trend=0.02), although based on only 10 cases and not statistically different from the other histologic types (P value for statistical heterogeneity between histologic types = 0.09). Statistical heterogeneity of the alcohol- and wine-OC associations was seen among three European studies, but not among eight North American studies. No statistically significant associations were observed in separate analyses evaluating risk with borderline tumors of serous or mucinous histology. Smoking status did not significantly modify any of the associations.
We found no evidence that recent moderate alcohol drinking is associated with increased risk for overall OC, or that variation in risk is associated strongly with specific histologic types. Understanding modifiable causes of these elusive and deadly cancers remains a priority for the research community.
All sequence data contain inherent information that can be measured by Shannon's uncertainty theory. Such measurement is valuable in evaluating large data sets, such as metagenomic libraries, to prioritize their analysis and annotation, thus saving computational resources. Here, Shannon's index of complete phage and bacterial genomes was examined. The information content of a genome was found to be highly dependent on the genome length, GC content, and sequence word size. In metagenomic sequences, the amount of information correlated with the number of matches found by comparison to sequence databases. A sequence with more information (higher uncertainty) has a higher probability of being significantly similar to other sequences in the database. Measuring uncertainty may be used for rapid screening for sequences with matches in available database, prioritizing computational resources, and indicating which sequences with no known similarities are likely to be important for more detailed analysis.
The present study compared cortisol and soluble tumor necrosis factor-α receptor II (sTNFαRII) responses provoked by cold pressor, hot water, ischemic, and neutral water (i.e., room temperature) modalities. Oral fluid samples were collected before, immediately after, and during recovery to assess physiological responses. From baseline, the cold pressor, but not hot water or ischemic modalities, produced a significant time-dependent elevation in cortisol, whereas cortisol significantly decreased for the neutral water task. When compared to baseline, the cold pressor, hot water, and ischemic modalities were associated with decreased sTNFαRII responses over time. The sTNFαRII response to neutral water initially decreased but returned to approximate baseline levels. Pain ratings were positively associated with cortisol increase from baseline and the overall cortisol response was negatively associated with the overall sTNFαRII response.
Current evidence supports the efficacy of hypnosis for reducing the pain associated with experimental stimulation and various acute and chronic conditions; however, the mechanisms explaining how hypnosis exerts its effects remain less clear. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and pro-inflammatory cytokines represent potential targets for investigation given their purported roles in the perpetuation of painful conditions; yet, no clinical trials have thus far examined the influence of hypnosis on these mechanisms.
Healthy participants, highly susceptible to the effects of hypnosis, were randomized to either a hypnosis intervention or a no-intervention control. Using a cold pressor task, assessments of pain intensity and pain unpleasantness were collected prior to the intervention (Pre) and following the intervention (Post) along with pain-provoked changes in salivary cortisol and the soluble receptor of tumor necrosis factor-α (sTNFαRII).
Compared to the no-intervention control, data analyses revealed that hypnosis significantly reduced pain intensity and pain unpleasantness. Hypnosis was not significantly associated with suppression of cortisol or sTNFαRII reactivity to acute pain from Pre to Post; however, the effect sizes for these associations were medium-sized.
Overall, the findings from this randomized controlled pilot study support the importance of a future large-scale study on the effects of hypnosis for modulating pain-related changes of the HPA axis and pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Hypnosis; Hypnotic analgesia; Pain; Cortisol; Tumor necrosis factor-α; HPA axis; Inflammation
We report on the genome sequences of Lactobacillus vini type strain LMG 23202T (DSM 20605) (isolated from fermenting grape musts in Spain) and the industrial strain L. vini JP7.8.9 (isolated from a bioethanol plant in northeast Brazil). All contigs were assembled using gsAssembler, and genes were predicted and annotated using Rapid Annotation using Subsystem Technology (RAST). The identified genome sequence of LMG 23202T had 2.201.333 bp, 37.6% G+C, and 1,833 genes, whereas the identified genome sequence of JP7.8.9 had 2.301.037 bp, 37.8% G+C, and 1,739 genes. The gene repertoire of the species L. vini offers promising opportunities for biotechnological applications.
Vibrio campbellii PEL22A was isolated from open ocean water in the Abrolhos Bank. The genome of PEL22A consists of 6,788,038 bp (the GC content is 45%). The number of coding sequences (CDS) is 6,359, as determined according to the Rapid Annotation using Subsystem Technology (RAST) server. The number of ribosomal genes is 80, of which 68 are tRNAs and 12 are rRNAs. V. campbellii PEL22A contains genes related to virulence and fitness, including a complete proteorhodopsin cluster, complete type II and III secretion systems, incomplete type I, IV, and VI secretion systems, a hemolysin, and CTXΦ.
Fibromyalgia (FM), characterized by wide-spread diffuse pain and sensory abnormalities, is associated with elevated indices of distress and pain-related catastrophizing compared to both pain-free samples and those with chronic pain conditions. Catastrophizing is a pervasive negative mental set, and is a strong predictor of negative pain-related outcomes such as clinical pain intensity, and physical disability. Situational catastrophizing, measured in the context of experimentally-induced pain, is strongly related to enhanced pain sensitivity, a core aspect of the pathophysiology of fibromyalgia. However, little is known regarding the temporal course of the association between catastrophizing and pain-related "outcomes". Most studies involve only static assessments of pain and catastrophizing at a single time point, which provides little insight into the direction of the observed associations. We sought to investigate the temporal relationships between catastrophizing and indices of both clinical pain (substudy 1) and experimentally-induced pain (substudy 2) in a larger randomized controlled longitudinal trial.
Fifty-seven patients with FM completed catastrophizing, depression, and pain questionnaires as well as laboratory cold pressor pain testing at baseline, post-intervention and three month follow-up during a lifestyle physical activity study. Cross-lagged panel analyses were used to address these temporal relationships.
In substudy 1, analyses revealed that pre-to-post changes in dispositional catastrophizing ratings prospectively accounted for unique variance in subsequent post-to-follow-up changes in clinical pain ratings (p = 0.005), while pre-to-post changes in pain ratings did not account for unique variance in post-to-follow-up changes in catastrophizing ratings. An identical pattern was observed experimentally in substudy 2, with pre-to-post changes in situational catastrophizing ratings prospectively accounting for unique variance in subsequent post-to-follow-up changes in experimental pain ratings (p = 0.014), while pre-to-post changes in pain ratings did not account for unique variance in post-to-follow-up changes in catastrophizing ratings. Specifically, initial alterations in catastrophizing were associated with subsequent alterations in clinical and experimentally induced pain. Controlling for levels of depression did not affect the results.
These findings provide empirical evidence that catastrophizing processes might precede and contribute to subsequent alterations in the pain experience for FM patients.
The remarkable advance in sequencing technology and the rising interest in medical and environmental microbiology, biotechnology, and synthetic biology resulted in a deluge of published microbial genomes. Yet, genome annotation, comparison, and modeling remain a major bottleneck to the translation of sequence information into biological knowledge, hence computational analysis tools are continuously being developed for rapid genome annotation and interpretation. Among the earliest, most comprehensive resources for prokaryotic genome analysis, the SEED project, initiated in 2003 as an integration of genomic data and analysis tools, now contains >5,000 complete genomes, a constantly updated set of curated annotations embodied in a large and growing collection of encoded subsystems, a derived set of protein families, and hundreds of genome-scale metabolic models. Until recently, however, maintaining current copies of the SEED code and data at remote locations has been a pressing issue. To allow high-performance remote access to the SEED database, we developed the SEED Servers (http://www.theseed.org/servers): four network-based servers intended to expose the data in the underlying relational database, support basic annotation services, offer programmatic access to the capabilities of the RAST annotation server, and provide access to a growing collection of metabolic models that support flux balance analysis. The SEED servers offer open access to regularly updated data, the ability to annotate prokaryotic genomes, the ability to create metabolic reconstructions and detailed models of metabolism, and access to hundreds of existing metabolic models. This work offers and supports a framework upon which other groups can build independent research efforts. Large integrations of genomic data represent one of the major intellectual resources driving research in biology, and programmatic access to the SEED data will provide significant utility to a broad collection of potential users.
S-CKD602 is a PEGylated liposomal formulation of CKD-602, a potent topoisomerase I inhibitor. The objective of this study was to characterize the bidirectional pharmacokinetic–pharmacodynamic (PK–PD) interaction between S-CKD602 and monocytes. Plasma concentrations of encapsulated CKD-602 and monocytes counts from 45 patients with solid tumors were collected following intravenous administration of S-CKD602 in the phase I study. The PK–PD models were developed and fit simultaneously to the PK–PD data, using NONMEM®. The monocytopenia after administration of S-CKD602 was described by direct toxicity to monocytes in a mechanism-based model, and by direct toxicity to progenitor cells in bone marrow in a myelosuppression-based model. The nonlinear PK disposition of S-CKD602 was described by linear degradation and irreversible binding to monocytes in the mechanism-based model, and Michaelis–Menten kinetics in the myelosuppression-based model. The mechanism-based PK–PD model characterized the nonlinear PK disposition, and the bidirectional PK–PD interaction between S-CKD602 and monocytes.
population pharmacokinetics; pharmacodynamics; PEGylated liposome; nonlinear kinetics
Motivation: Metagenomes are often characterized by high levels of unknown sequences. Reads derived from known microorganisms can easily be identified and analyzed using fast homology search algorithms and a suitable reference database, but the unknown sequences are often ignored in further analyses, biasing conclusions. Nevertheless, it is possible to use more data in a comparative metagenomic analysis by creating a cross-assembly of all reads, i.e. a single assembly of reads from different samples. Comparative metagenomics studies the interrelationships between metagenomes from different samples. Using an assembly algorithm is a fast and intuitive way to link (partially) homologous reads without requiring a database of reference sequences.
Results: Here, we introduce crAss, a novel bioinformatic tool that enables fast simple analysis of cross-assembly files, yielding distances between all metagenomic sample pairs and an insightful image displaying the similarities.
Availability and implementation: crAss is available as a web server at http://edwards.sdsu.edu/crass/, and the Perl source code can be downloaded to run as a stand-alone command line tool.
Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
Summary: Annotation of metagenomes involves comparing the individual sequence reads with a database of known sequences and assigning a unique function to each read. This is a time-consuming task that is computationally intensive (though not computationally complex). Here we present a novel approach to annotate metagenomes using unique k-mer oligopeptide sequences from 7 to 12 amino acids long. We demonstrate that k-mer-based annotations are faster and approach the sensitivity and precision of blastx-based annotations without loosing accuracy. A last-common ancestor approach was also developed to describe the members of the community.
Availability and implementation: This open-source application was implemented in Perl and can be accessed via a user-friendly website at http://edwards.sdsu.edu/rtmg. In addition, code to access the annotation servers is available for download from http://www.theseed.org/. FIGfams and k-mers are available for download from ftp://ftp.theseed.org/FIGfams/.
Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
Vibrio harveyi is a Gram-negative bacterium found in tropical and temperate marine environments as a free-living organism or in association with aquatic animals. We report the first sequenced genome of a Vibrio harveyi strain, CAIM 1792, the etiologic agent of the “bright red” syndrome of the Pacific white shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei.
Valosin containing protein (VCP) mutations are the cause of hereditary inclusion body myopathy, Paget's disease of bone, frontotemporal dementia (IBMPFD). VCP gene mutations have also been linked to 2% of isolated familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). VCP is at the intersection of disrupted ubiquitin proteasome and autophagy pathways, mechanisms responsible for the intracellular protein degradation and abnormal pathology seen in muscle, brain and spinal cord. We have developed the homozygous knock-in VCP mouse (VCPR155H/R155H) model carrying the common R155H mutations, which develops many clinical features typical of the VCP-associated human diseases. Homozygote VCPR155H/R155H mice typically survive less than 21 days, exhibit weakness and myopathic changes on EMG. MicroCT imaging of the bones reveal non-symmetrical radiolucencies of the proximal tibiae and bone, highly suggestive of PDB. The VCPR155H/R155H mice manifest prominent muscle, heart, brain and spinal cord pathology, including striking mitochondrial abnormalities, in addition to disrupted autophagy and ubiquitin pathologies. The VCPR155H/R155H homozygous mouse thus represents an accelerated model of VCP disease and can be utilized to elucidate the intricate molecular mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of VCP-associated neurodegenerative diseases and for the development of novel therapeutic strategies.
There has been recent interest in characterizing potential abnormalities of pain processing in patients with sleep disorders such as Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS). The aim of this study was to evaluate psychophysical responses to noxious heat and pressure stimuli in both treated and untreated RLS patients, compared to matched controls.
This study is a cross-sectional group comparison of RLS patients with matched controls. A total of 31 patients (15 treated, 16 untreated) with a confirmed diagnosis of RLS were compared to 18 controls with no history of RLS or related sleep disorders.
RLS patients (both treated and untreated) demonstrated reduced pain thresholds and reported greater clinical pain relative to controls. Moreover, RLS patients demonstrated enhanced temporal summation of heat pain (p< .05), which may reflect aberrant central nervous system facilitation of pain transmission. Both treated and untreated RLS patients reported disrupted sleep relative to controls, and mediation analyses suggested that the reduced pain thresholds in RLS were attributable to sleep disturbance. However, the effect of RLS on the magnitude of temporal summation of heat pain was independent of sleep disturbance.
These findings suggest that central nervous system pain processing may be amplified in RLS, perhaps partially as a consequence of sleep disruption. RLS patients, even those whose symptoms are managed pharmacologically, may be at elevated long-term risk for the development or maintenance of persistent pain conditions. Further studies in larger samples could help to improve the prospects for pain management in RLS patients.
This study employed quantitative sensory testing (QST) to evaluate pain responses in chronic spinal pain patients at low risk and high risk for opioid misuse, with risk classification based on scores on the Screener and Opioid Assessment for Patients with Pain-Revised (SOAPP-R). Patients were further sub-grouped according to current use of prescription opioids. Of the 276 chronic pain patients tested, approximately 65% were taking opioids; a median split was used to further categorize these patients as being on lower or higher doses of opioids. The highrisk group (n= 161) reported higher levels of clinical pain, had lower pressure and thermal pain thresholds at multiple body sites, had lower heat pain tolerance, and rated repetitive mechanical stimuli as more painful relative to the low-risk group (n= 115; p’s< .01). In contrast, QST measures did not differ across opioid groups. Multiple linear regression analysis suggested that indices of pain-related distress (i.e., anxiety and catastrophizing about pain) were also predictive of hyperalgesia, particularly in patients taking opioids. Collectively, regardless of opioid status, the high-risk group was hyperalgesic relative to the low-risk group; future opioid treatment studies may benefit from the classification of opioid risk, and the examination of pain sensitivity and other factors that differentiate high- and low-risk groups.
hyperalgesia; opioid misuse; chronic pain; catastrophizing; anxiety
Phages are a primary driving force behind the evolution of bacterial pathogens by transferring a variety of virulence genes into their hosts. Similar to other bacterial genomes, the Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis LK5 genome contains several regions that are homologous to phages. Although genomic analysis demonstrated the presence of prophages, it was unable to confirm which phage elements within the genome were viable. Genetic markers were used to tag one of the prophages in the genome to allow monitoring of phage induction. Commonly used laboratory strains of Salmonella were resistant to phage infection, and therefore a rapid screen was developed to identify susceptible hosts. This approach showed that a genetically tagged prophage, ELPhiS (Enteritidis lysogenic phage S), was capable of infecting Salmonella serovars that are diverse in host range and virulence and has the potential to laterally transfer genes between these serovars via lysogenic conversion. The rapid screen approach is adaptable to any system with a large collection of isolates and may be used to test the viability of prophages found by sequencing the genomes of various bacterial pathogens.
S-CKD602 is a pegylated liposomal formulation of CKD-602, a semi-synthetic camptothecin analogue. Pegylated (STEALTH®) liposomes can achieve extended drug exposure in plasma and tumor. Based on promising preclinical data, the first phase I study of S-CKD602 was performed in patients (pts) with refractory solid tumors.
S-CKD602 was administered IV every 3 weeks. Modified Fibonacci escalation was used (3–6 pts/cohort), and dose levels ranged from 0.1 to 2.5 mg/m2. Serial plasma samples were obtained over two weeks and total (lactone + hydroxyl acid) concentrations of encapsulated, released, and sum total (encapsulated + released) CKD602 measured by LC-MS/MS.
45 pts (21 male) were treated: median age 62 years (range: 33–79 years); ECOG status: 0 to 1 (43 pts) and 2 (2 pts). Dose-limiting toxicities of grade 3 mucositis occurred in 1/6 pts at 0.3 mg/m2, grade 3/4 bone marrow suppression in 2/3 pts at 2.5 mg/m2, and grade 3 febrile neutropenia and anemia in 1/6 pts at 2.1 mg/m2. The maximum tolerated dose was 2.1 mg/m2. Partial responses occurred in 2 pts with refractory ovarian cancer (1.7 and 2.1 mg/m2). High inter-patient variability occurred in the pharmacokinetic disposition of encapsulated and released CKD-602.
S-CKD602 represents a promising new liposomal camptothecin analogue with manageable toxicity and promising antitumor activity. Phase II studies of S-CKD602 at 2.1 mg/m2 IV once every 3 weeks are planned. Prolonged plasma exposure over 1 to 2 wks is consistent with STEALTH® liposomes and provides extended exposure compared with single doses of non-liposomal camptothecins.
Synaptic vesicles belong to two distinct pools, a recycling pool responsible for the evoked release of neurotransmitter and a resting pool unresponsive to stimulation. The uniform appearance of synaptic vesicles has suggested that differences in location or cytoskeletal association account for these differences in function. We now find that the v-SNARE tetanus toxin-insensitive vesicle-associated membrane protein (VAMP7) differs from other synaptic vesicle proteins in its distribution to the two pools, providing the first evidence that they differ in molecular composition. We also find that both resting and recycling pools undergo spontaneous release, and when activated by deletion of the longin domain, VAMP7 influences the properties of release. Further, the endocytosis which follows evoked and spontaneous release differs in mechanism, and specific sequences confer targeting to the different vesicle pools. The results suggest that different endocytic mechanisms generate synaptic vesicles with different proteins which can endow the vesicles with distinct properties.
There is a lack of fast and high resolution methods to measure metabolic activity of single cells in their native environment. Here we develop a straightforward, non-invasive and sensitive method to measure metabolic phenotype of single cells in a live tissue. By using NADH as optical biomarker and the phasor approach to Fluorescence Lifetime microscopy (FLIM) we identify cellular metabolic fingerprints related to different rates of oxidative phosphorylation and glycolysis. For the first time we measure a three dimensional metabolic gradient in the small intestine (SI) epithelia that appears tightly associated with epithelial cell proliferation, differentiation and the Wnt gradient. The highest free/bound NADH ratios are measured at the base of the crypt within the highly proliferative stem cells, indicating high levels of glycolysis. For the first time mouse small intestinal stem cells in intact live crypts are identified within the tissue by their metabolic fingerprint.
Chemotactic cytokines (chemokines) can help regulate tumor cell invasion and metastasis. Here, we show that chemokine 25 (CCL25) and its cognate receptor chemokine receptor 9 (CCR9) inhibit colorectal cancer (CRC) invasion and metastasis. We found that CCR9 protein expression levels were highest in colon adenomas and progressively decreased in invasive and metastatic CRCs. CCR9 was expressed in both primary tumor cell cultures and colon-cancer-initiating cell (CCIC) lines derived from early-stage CRCs but not from metastatic CRC. CCL25 stimulated cell proliferation by activating AKT signaling. In vivo, systemically injected CCR9+ early-stage CCICs led to the formation of orthotopic gastrointestinal xenograft tumors. Blocking CCR9 signaling inhibited CRC tumor formation in the native gastrointestinal CCL25+ microenvironment, while increasing extraintestinal tumor incidence. NOTCH signaling, which promotes CRC metastasis, increased extraintestinal tumor frequency by stimulating CCR9 proteasomal degradation. Overall, these data indicate that CCL25 and CCR9 regulate CRC progression and invasion and further demonstrate an appropriate in vivo experimental system to study CRC progression in the native colon microenvironment.
Gut microbes influence animal health and thus, are potential targets for interventions that slow aging. Live E. coli provides the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans with vital micronutrients, such as folates that cannot be synthesized by animals. However, the microbe also limits C. elegans lifespan. Understanding these interactions may shed light on how intestinal microbes influence mammalian aging.
Serendipitously, we isolated an E. coli mutant that slows C. elegans aging. We identified the disrupted gene to be aroD, which is required to synthesize aromatic compounds in the microbe. Adding back aromatic compounds to the media revealed that the increased C. elegans lifespan was caused by decreased availability of para-aminobenzoic acid, a precursor to folate. Consistent with this result, inhibition of folate synthesis by sulfamethoxazole, a sulfonamide, led to a dose-dependent increase in C. elegans lifespan. As expected, these treatments caused a decrease in bacterial and worm folate levels, as measured by mass spectrometry of intact folates. The folate cycle is essential for cellular biosynthesis. However, bacterial proliferation and C. elegans growth and reproduction were unaffected under the conditions that increased lifespan.
In this animal:microbe system, folates are in excess of that required for biosynthesis. This study suggests that microbial folate synthesis is a pharmacologically accessible target to slow animal aging without detrimental effects.
aging; microbes; folate; C. elegans; E. coli