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Cell. 2014 Feb 13;156(4):759-70. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.01.047.

Interspecies systems biology uncovers metabolites affecting C. elegans gene expression and life history traits.

Author information

1
Program in Systems Biology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01605, USA; Program in Molecular Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01605, USA.
2
Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, University of Toronto, Toronto M5S 3E1, Canada; Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto, Toronto M5S 3E1, Canada.
3
Program in Systems Biology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01605, USA; Program in Molecular Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01605, USA. Electronic address: marian.walhout@umassmed.edu.

Erratum in

  • Cell. 2014 Mar 13;156(6):1336-7.

Abstract

Diet greatly influences gene expression and physiology. In mammals, elucidating the effects and mechanisms of individual nutrients is challenging due to the complexity of both the animal and its diet. Here, we used an interspecies systems biology approach with Caenorhabditis elegans and two of its bacterial diets, Escherichia coli and Comamonas aquatica, to identify metabolites that affect the animal's gene expression and physiology. We identify vitamin B12 as the major dilutable metabolite provided by Comamonas aq. that regulates gene expression, accelerates development, and reduces fertility but does not affect lifespan. We find that vitamin B12 has a dual role in the animal: it affects development and fertility via the methionine/S-Adenosylmethionine (SAM) cycle and breaks down the short-chain fatty acid propionic acid, preventing its toxic buildup. Our interspecies systems biology approach provides a paradigm for understanding complex interactions between diet and physiology.

PMID:
24529378
PMCID:
PMC4169190
DOI:
10.1016/j.cell.2014.01.047
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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