Study highlights undiscovered potential of bacterial compounds and toxin-related genes associated with colon cancer.

by KeAi Communications Co.

Study highlights undiscovered potential of bacterial compounds and toxin-related genes associated with colon cancer.

The predicted ability of intestinal bacteria to produce new compounds that may have pathogenic as well as industry-relevant properties. Credit: Amkar S. Mohti.

The past two decades have seen the development of complex computational tools for exploring the DNA of bacteria. These tools search for interesting metabolites (molecules related to metabolism) that block a strong biological interaction. Its effect may be toxic, or it may be life-enhancing; For example, reporting the development of new antibiotics, anti-cancer drugs or biopesticides for use in agriculture.

The Arithmetic tools A mine of specific genetic signatures in the vicinity of DNA responsible for the production of various compounds of clinical, agricultural and industrial importance. However, how these genomic regions relate to global parts of bacterial systems remains a mystery.

A team of scientists from Denmark Technical University (DTU) and University of California San Diego have developed a novel computational approach To analyze the DNA sequences of thousands of bacteria. The results of their study were published in the journal Synthetic biotechnology and systems.

Tilman Weber is associate director of the Natural Products Genome Mining Group at DTU’s Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability (DTU Biosustain), and one of the study’s authors. According to Weber, their goal was to reveal the genomic parts that work in unison to produce compounds of great interest.

He explains, “Intestinal bacteria are a large family of bacteria that includes common infectious pathogens, such as salmonella and E-coli, as well as harmless bacteria that live in symbiosis with other organisms. Surprisingly, Arithmetic analysis The study conducted for this study identified a large number of gene clusters responsible for metabolites of potential interest that were not previously known. We still need to know the functions of these compounds in bacteria production, as well as their function when they interact with human hosts or other environments.”

Research has shown that many gut microbes produce a molecule called colibactin that they can bind to Colon Cancer. In this study, the team created a variety of genetic elements that are always present in colibactin-containing bacteria. Omkar Mohite, a postdoctoral researcher at DTU Biosustain and first author of the study, notes that “such associated signatures can help predict a list of biological parts that clump together to support production of a genetic toxin that can cause colon cancer – valuable information that may help in improving treatment options in the future.”

He adds, “The drive to understand how biological systems are composed of many parts that interact together is what drove me to science. I believe that this puzzle can be solved with new approaches to integrating and investigating large numbers of data sets, such as the approach we used in this study.”


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more information:
Omkar S. Mohite et al., Pangenome analysis of intestinal bacteria reveals richness of secondary metabolic gene sets and associated gene sets, Synthetic biotechnology and systems (2022). DOI: 10.1016 / j.synbio.2022.04.011

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