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:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:11/15/2016)... , Nov 15, 2016 Research and ... Global Forecast to 2021" report to their offering. ... ... USD 16.18 Billion by 2021 from USD 6.21 Billion in 2016, ... Growth of the bioinformatics market is driven by the ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... 2016   Acuant , the leading ... has partnered with RightCrowd ® to ... Management, Self-Service Kiosks and Continuous Workforce Assurance. ... functional enhancements to existing physical access control ... with an automated ID verification and authentication ...
(Date:6/15/2016)... York , June 15, 2016 ... new market report titled "Gesture Recognition Market by Application ... Forecast, 2016 - 2024". According to the report, the  ... 11.60 billion in 2015 and is estimated to ... USD 48.56 billion by 2024.  Increasing ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/5/2016)...  Renova™ Therapeutics, a biotechnology company developing gene ... chronic diseases, announced that Catherine Bovenizer , ... Officer (CFO), effective today. Ms. Bovenizer ... in financial management for a variety of public ... recently, Ms. Bovenizer was the Vice President of ...
(Date:12/5/2016)... , Dec 5, 2016 Research and ... "DNA Sequencing - Technologies, Markets and Companies" to ... , ... briefly reviews basics of human genome variations, development of sequencing ... described as well as companies developing them. Various applications of ...
(Date:12/4/2016)... , Dec. 3, 2016  In five studies ... Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting and Exposition in ... engineering methods to improve the delivery of life-saving treatments ... new methods are designed to carry therapies directly to ... most, which could provide a substantial advantage over traditional, ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... -- The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) today announced that ... —the largest and most comprehensive study driving new genomic ... presented at the 58 th American Society of ... San Diego from December 3-6. The new ... as identify pathways and targets for new drug development. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: