Navigation Links
W.M. Keck Foundation funds study of friendly microbes

You could say that the Human Genome Project missed 99 percent of the genes in the adult body. That's because it didn't sequence genes belonging to the vast communities of bacteria that normally live on and in us.

Now a $1.45 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation to researchers at the School of Medicine will help fill this gap by funding a study to develop new approaches for isolating, sequencing and analyzing the genomes of "friendly" bacteria that inhabit the intestine and identifying the natural metabolic products that they synthesize in their native gut habitats.

The W.M. Keck Foundation, established in 1954 by the late W.M. Keck, founder of the Superior Oil Company, focuses its grants on pioneering efforts in the areas of medical research, science and engineering.

The grant supports a project led by Jeffrey Gordon, M.D., director of the Center for Genome Sciences (CGS) at Washington University in St. Louis, and reflects a partnership between his lab, the lab of Sean Eddy, Ph.D., associate professor of genetics, and members of the Washington University Genome Sequencing Center.

The CGS is an innovative, interdepartmental, interdisciplinary enterprise strategically placed next to the Genome Sequencing Center. It is a major facet of the University's BioMed 21 initiative, which aims to translate genomic science into patient care. The CGS plays a catalytic role in helping to devise new ways to translate the genetic data obtained from genome sequencing projects to allow researchers to better understand the evolution and diversity of life on Earth, as well as help create new methods to diagnose and treat patients with common and uncommon diseases.

"The CGS represents a community of faculty and students with expertise in the biological, computational and physical sciences," Gordon says. "We are dedicated to integrating concepts and technologies from a variety of disciplines so that we can analyze the massive amounts of inform ation encoded in genomes and experimentally test predictions about gene functions that come from our computer-assisted analyses."

Gordon views the human gut as "a bioreactor programmed with at least 800 different species of bacteria." "Fortunately, these microbes endow us with key metabolic functions that we have not had to evolve on our own," Gordon says.

He and his colleagues have used mouse models of the human gut ecosystem to show that intestinal bacteria allow calories to be harvested from otherwise indigestible components of the diet, such as polysaccharides. These microbes also regulate the amount of extracted energy that is stored in fat cells. The implication of these findings is that variations in the composition of gut microbial communities among different people may be an important factor that influences predisposition to obesity and obesity-related disorders such as diabetes and heart disease.

Unfortunately, comprehensive analysis of the composition and functions of these microbial communities, in health and in disease, has been hampered because the majority of gut bacteria are difficult or impossible to grow and study outside of the intestine. With the support provided by the Keck Foundation, the researchers will create new techniques for harvesting microbial communities along the length of the intestine and sequencing the genomes of new species, without having to culture them in test tubes.

They are also developing new computational methods for mining genome sequence data so that bacterial species can be more rapidly and accurately classified. A large publicly accessible database will be established that provides detailed molecular information about the gut ecosystem for researchers.

A second aspect of the project aims to directly identify the products of bacterial metabolism in the intestine. The goal is to characterize previously unknown chemical compounds that play important roles in regulating the properties of the microbial community and human physiology. To do so, the researchers will use a new type of mass spectrometer with an unprecedented capacity to accurately and rapidly identify these metabolites.

"We very grateful to the Keck foundation, which has committed itself to funding high-risk projects designed to overcome key obstacles in emerging fields in science so that rapid progress can subsequently be made," Gordon says. "Their support of our studies of the genomic and metabolic foundations of mutually beneficial (symbiotic) relationships between microbes and humans will allow light to be shed on this previously mysterious interior world. Our objective is to understand how the human body functions as a carefully woven fabric of interacting species. Ultimately, such understanding promises to provide new ways of fortifying health and preventing or treating a variety of diseases both inside and outside of the gastrointestinal tract."


Source:Washington University in St. Louis

Related biology news :

1. WHO suspends Marburg work, appeals for new funds
2. European Commission funds EBI to do new research on synergies between bioinformatics and medical informatics
3. Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative funds Yale project
4. Federal grant funds research on novel HIV therapy
5. Bioartificial kidney under study at MCG
6. Yellowstone microbes fueled by hydrogen, according to U. of Colorado study
7. Genome-wide mouse study yields link to human leukemia
8. Clam embryo study shows pollutant mixture adversely affects nerve cell development
9. New imaging method gives early indication if brain cancer therapy is effective, U-M study shows
10. Same mutation aided evolution in many fish species, Stanford study finds
11. Sequencing of marine bacterium will help study of cell communication
Post Your Comments:

(Date:9/28/2015)... September 28, 2015 According to ... & Software), Product (Scanner & Others), Application (Access Control ... & Others) & Geography Global - Forecast to 2020", published ... reach USD 3627.90 Million by 2020, at a CAGR ... Browse 65 market data T ables and ...
(Date:9/26/2015)...  Results of a TactioRPM pilot project in ... the Stanford Medicine X Conference. In a presentation ... Health Devices and Pharmacogenomics", Roger Simard , ... how senior patients equipped with connected health devices ... the TactioRPM remote patient monitoring platform were empowered ...
(Date:9/24/2015)... , September 24, 2015 ... september 2015 Kerv ( ... finanstjänster, lanserar idag världens första kontaktlösa betalningsring ... in 77 000 GBP för massproduktion via ... ) , Kerv-bärare kan ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
... part in the National Science Foundation,s (NSF) Faculty ... additional distinction as winners of Presidential Early Career ... 2006 competition. The PECASE program recognizes outstanding ... show exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers ...
... wildfires can contribute as much as vehicles to carbon ... highly variable. New research published in the online open ... and suggests fires will complicate emissions monitoring and modelling ... Atmospheric Research and Jason Neff of the University of ...
... State University have designed a revolutionary laser technique which ... damaging human cells and may also help reduce the ... The research, published on Thursday November 1 in ... discusses how pulses from an infrared laser can be ...
Cached Biology News:
(Date:10/8/2015)... -- Celemics, a global pioneer of personalized medicine genetics, ... with the establishment of Celemics America, Inc. ... , has secured itself in the global market ... preparation for DNA sequencing and genetic testing.  Next Generation ... testing more accurately, quickly, and cost effectively than traditional ...
(Date:10/8/2015)... 2015 The 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry ... at Dallas. Aziz Sancar , who earned his PhD ... in 1977, is one of three scientists who received the ... repair damaged DNA on a molecular level.  --> Aziz ... from UT Dallas in 1977, is one ...
(Date:10/8/2015)... /PRNewswire/ - RepliCel Life Sciences Inc. (OTCQB: REPCF) (TSX.V: RP), ... development of autologous cell therapies, today announced its schedule of ... in the month of October: Stem Cell ... will be presenting at the annual Partnering Forum, part ... be held October 7-9 in La Jolla, ...
(Date:10/8/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Talon Innovations, a provider of Precision Machined Products ... it is one of three finalists for the Minnesota Business magazine’s Manufacturing Award in ... Talon Innovations was recognized as a nominee for this competitive award. , The ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
... DUBLIN , June 17, 2010 An ... hour blood,pressure is more accurate and consistent than a leading group of,international ... ... the study,analysed the interpretation of numerous blood pressure readings taken over a,24-hour ...
... becoming increasingly flatter - some have even become almost as ... dimensions, much to the delight of home cinema fans. Cellphones ... All of these developments owe their thanks to miniature light-emitting ... multitude of devices. However, LED technology does have a ...
... ... an occlusion-induced IR injury model enabling the ability to study the functional relevance of ... which the drug promotes myocardial protection. , ... (PRWEB) June 16, 2010 -- MD Biosciences , a ...
Cached Biology Technology: