Bacteria-host interactions through bile acid transforming bacteria

Specialized anaerobic gut bacteria transform primary bile acids produced in the liver and secreted in the bile into a variety of so-called secondary bile acids. Through specific bile acid receptors they exert hormone-like functions and regulate the mammalian energy metabolism and immune system. Perturbation of this important host-microbial metabolic dialogue by antibiotic therapy, malnutrition or other factors that may negatively influence the normal colonization and function of these microbial species is therefore hypothesized to predispose to adiposity, diabetes, atherosclerosis and intestinal infection. The interdisciplinary consortium between our lab (leading house), the Environmental Microbiology Laboratory (EML) in the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, EPFL, the Laboratory of Metabolic Signaling of the Interfaculty Institute of Bioengineering, EPFL, and the Clostridia Research Group (CRG) in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Nottingham has been awarded with a CHF 3 Million grant by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) under the “Sinergia – Interdisciplinary and Collaborative Breakthrough Research” program to investigate the still poorly characterized mechanisms of this important host-microbial interaction and how they may be exploited therapeutically.