Research ArticleHost-Microbe Interactions

Host mitochondria influence gut microbiome diversity: A role for ROS

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Science Signaling  02 Jul 2019:
Vol. 12, Issue 588, eaaw3159
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aaw3159

Inheriting microbiome variation

In mice, the bacterial species that persist within the gut microbiome are maternally inherited. However, maternally inherited variations in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence also correlate with gut microbiome diversity, as well as the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). In mice with mtDNA variants associated with increased production of ROS, Yardeni et al. found reduced gut microbiome species diversity. When pups were cross-fostered to unlink inheritance of mtDNA and gut microbiota, after weaning, the gut microbiome species were reflective of inherited mtDNA variation. Both pharmacological and genetic reduction of mitochondrial ROS abundance increased microbiome diversity. These data suggest that microbiome diversity is genetically encoded, and further imply that antioxidants may improve the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy, which is sensitive to microbiome composition.

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