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Cell Chem Biol. 2016 Jan 21;23(1):18-30. doi: 10.1016/j.chembiol.2015.12.008.

Exploring and Understanding the Biochemical Diversity of the Human Microbiota.

Author information

1
Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, 12 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.
2
Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, 12 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA. Electronic address: balskus@chemistry.harvard.edu.

Abstract

Recent studies have illuminated a remarkable diversity and abundance of microbes living on and within the human body. While we are beginning to appreciate associations of certain bacteria and genes with particular host physiological states, considerable information is lacking about the relevant functional activities of the human microbiota. The human gut microbiome encodes tremendous potential for the biosynthesis and transformation of compounds that are important for both microbial and host physiology. Implementation of chemical knowledge and techniques will be required to improve our understanding of the biochemical diversity of the human microbiota. Such efforts include the characterization of novel microbial enzymes and pathways, isolation of microbial natural products, and development of tools to modulate biochemical functions of the gut microbiota. Ultimately, a molecular understanding of gut microbial activities will be critical for elucidating and manipulating these organisms' contributions to human health and disease.

PMID:
26933733
DOI:
10.1016/j.chembiol.2015.12.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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