Deciphering microbiota metabolism in humans

Published: 2018-08-16


A new methodology for the selective mass spectrometric investigation of gut microbiota and human host co-metabolism has been developed by the laboratory of Daniel Globisch (Uppsala University/SciLifeLab). This investigation led to the discovery of a large number of previously unidentified metabolites and represents a tremendous potential for the identification of unknown mediators of disease development.

The consortium of trillions of gut microbiota significantly impacts human physiology through metabolic interaction. One class of metabolites associated with this co-metabolism are sulfated compounds. The reported new strategy integrates enzymatic sample pre-treatment in combination with state-of-the-art mass spectrometry, metabolomics bioinformatic analysis, and chemical synthesis. Investigation of human urine and fecal samples resulted in the identification of more than 100 previously undescribed sulfated metabolites. Further investigation of these metabolites will allow to decipher the potential link to disease development as well as the communication between microbiota and their human host.

This targeted enzymatic strategy is a new asset expanding the scope of metabolite analysis in human samples and can be applied to metabolomics-driven biomarker discovery for diseases affected by an altered microbiota composition. This study was performed in collaboration with Matthias Löhr (KI) and Sebastian Deindl (UU/SciLifeLab).

Read full scientific paper in Chemical Science