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“Interspecies communication” strategy between gut bacteria and mammalian hosts’ genes described


File:DNA simple.svg Now, “interspecies communication” could just be you swatting a fly. On the other hand, from ScienceDaily:

Bacteria in the gut do far more than help digest food in the stomachs of their hosts, they can also tell the genes in their mammalian hosts what to do.

A study published today in Cell describes a form of “interspecies communication” in which bacteria secrete a specific molecule — nitric oxide — that allows them to communicate with and control their hosts’ DNA, and suggests that the conversation between the two may broadly influence human health.

The researchers out of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, and Harvard Medical School tracked nitric oxide secreted by gut bacteria inside tiny worms (C. elegans, a common mammalian laboratory model). Nitric oxide secreted by gut bacteria attached to thousands of host proteins, completely changing a worm’s ability to regulate its own gene expression.

The study is the first to show gut bacteria can tap into nitric oxide networks ubiquitous in mammals, including humans. Nitric oxide attaches to human proteins in a carefully regulated manner — a process known as S-nitrosylation — and disruptions are broadly implicated in diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer…

While nitric oxide and S-nitrosylation may be a general mode of interspecies communication with broad health implications, it will require additional future research. Will nitric oxide be the only chemical communication channel? “We’re basically seeing a new field opening for general strategies of communication,” says Stamler. “There will be others.” Paper. (paywall) – Puneet Seth, Paishiun N. Hsieh, Suhib Jamal, Liwen Wang, Steven P. Gygi, Mukesh K. Jain, Jeff Coller, Jonathan S. Stamler. Regulation of MicroRNA Machinery and Development by Interspecies S-Nitrosylation. Cell, Feb. 21, 2019; DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2019.01.037 More.

Funny how all this just somehow happens even though “ There seems to be no more design in the variability of organic beings and in the action of natural selection, than in the course which the wind blows. Everything in nature is the result of fixed laws’. If the “fixed laws” produce all this communication, they are clearly intelligence operating under the name “laws.” This is just not what laws do.

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