ADVERTISEMENT
2 /3 FREE ARTICLES LEFT THIS MONTH Remaining
Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.

If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.

ENJOY UNLIMITED ACCES TO C&EN

Microbiome

Microbiome modifies worm’s food choices

Gut bacteria can hijack the olfactory system of C. elegans

by Laura Howes
June 20, 2020 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 98, ISSUE 24

 

09824-scicon5-celegans.jpg
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Bacteria in C. elegans's gut affect the worm's food choices. These worms grow to about 1 mm in length.

Many animals coexist in a relationship with the diverse communities that live in and on them. Known as microbiomes, these communities are made up of fungi, viruses, and bacteria. Researchers know that several bacteria thatlive in the guts of hosts produce bioactive molecules such as neurotransmitters. Scientists have hypothesized that those compounds can alter a host's mood or behavior. Now, working with the small worm Caenorhabditis elegans, Piali Sengupta's group at Brandeis University has not only shown that a bacteria in the worm's gut microbiome quantitatively alters behavior, but also the molecular basis of that alteration (Nature 2020, DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2395-5). The bacterium responsible is a strain of Providencia alcalifaciens called P. alcalifaciens JUb39, which produces the neurotransmitter tyramine. C. elegans converts this compound to octopamine, which then activates specific neurons in the worm and decreases its aversion to bacterially produced volatiles such as octanol. This means the worm changes its choice of food to benefit P. alcalifaciens and maybe also the worm.

X

Article:

This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Leave A Comment

*Required to comment