Seminar at #UCDavis: Michelle Smith, Wash U, “From the clinic to the bench: Using gnotobiotic mouse models uncovers a role for the gut microbiota in malnutrition”

Michelle Smith from Wash U in St. Louis

Meyer Hall, Room 1138. Noon. 5/16/2013

"From the clinic to the bench: Using gnotobiotic mouse models uncovers
a role for the gut microbiota in malnutrition"

Abstract from recent Science paper:

Kwashiorkor, an enigmatic form of severe acute malnutrition, is the
consequence of inadequate nutrient intake plus additional
environmental insults. To investigate the role of the gut microbiome,
we studied 317 Malawian twin pairs during the first 3 years of life.
During this time, half of the twin pairs remained well nourished,
whereas 43% became discordant, and 7% manifested concordance for acute
malnutrition. Both children in twin pairs discordant for kwashiorkor
were treated with a peanut-based, ready-to-use therapeutic food
(RUTF). Time-series metagenomic studies revealed that RUTF produced a
transient maturation of metabolic functions in kwashiorkor gut
microbiomes that regressed when administration of RUTF was stopped.
Previously frozen fecal communities from several discordant pairs were
each transplanted into gnotobiotic mice. The combination of Malawian
diet and kwashiorkor microbiome produced marked weight loss in
recipient mice, accompanied by perturbations in amino acid,
carbohydrate, and intermediary metabolism that were only transiently
ameliorated with RUTF. These findings implicate the gut microbiome as
a causal factor in kwashiorkor.

Author: Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. (see my lab site here). My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis

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