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G protein-coupled receptors: A target for microbial metabolites and a mechanistic link to microbiome-immune-brain interactions

Published date

October 1, 2023


"Human-microorganism interactions play a key role in human health. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms remain poorly understood. Small-molecules that offer a functional readout of microbe-microbe-human relationship are of great interest for deeper understanding of the inter-kingdom crosstalk at the molecular level. Recent studies have demonstrated that small-molecules from gut microbiota act as ligands for specific human G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and modulate a range of human physiological functions, offering a mechanistic insight into the microbe-human interaction. To this end, we focused on analysis of bacterial metabolites that are currently recognized to bind to GPCRs and are found to activate the known downstream signaling pathways. We further mapped the distribution of these molecules across the public mass spectrometry-based metabolomics data, to identify the presence of these molecules across body sites and their association with health status. By combining this with RNA-Seq expression and spatial localization of GPCRs from a public human protein atlas database, we inferred the most predominant GPCR-mediated microbial metabolite-human cell interactions regulating gut-immune-brain axis. Furthermore, by evaluating the intestinal absorption properties and blood-brain barrier permeability of the small-molecules we elucidated their molecular interactions with specific human cell receptors, particularly expressed on human intestinal epithelial cells, immune cells and the nervous system that are shown to hold much promise for clinical translational potential. Furthermore, we provide an overview of an open-source resource for simultaneous interrogation of bioactive molecules across the druggable human GPCRome, a useful framework for integration of microbiome and metabolite cataloging with mechanistic studies for an improved understanding of gut microbiota-immune-brain molecular interactions and their potential therapeutic use."

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