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BMC Microbiol. 2019 May 16;19(1):99. doi: 10.1186/s12866-019-1483-x.

Gut microbial beta-glucuronidase and glycerol/diol dehydratase activity contribute to dietary heterocyclic amine biotransformation.

Author information

1
Department of Health Sciences and Technology, ETH Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.
2
Present Address: Department of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.
3
Department of Biology, ETH Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.
4
Department of Health Sciences and Technology, ETH Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland. clarissa.schwab@hest.ethz.ch.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Consuming red and processed meat has been associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer (CRC), which is partly attributed to exposure to carcinogens such as heterocyclic amines (HCA) formed during cooking and preservation processes. The interaction of gut microbes and HCA can result in altered bioactivities and it has been shown previously that human gut microbiota can transform mutagenic HCA to a glycerol conjugate with reduced mutagenic potential. However, the major form of HCA in the colon are glucuronides (HCA-G) and it is not known whether these metabolites, via stepwise microbial hydrolysis and acrolein conjugation, are viable precursors for glycerol conjugated metabolites. We hypothesized that such a process could be concurrently catalyzed by bacterial beta-glucuronidase (B-GUS) and glycerol/diol dehydratase (GDH) activity. We therefore investigated how the HCA-G PhIP-N2-β-D-glucuronide (PhIP-G), a representative liver metabolite of PhIP (2-Amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo [4,5-b] pyridine), which is the most abundant carcinogenic HCA in well-cooked meat, is transformed by enzymatic activity of human gut microbial representatives of the phyla Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, and Proteobacteria.

RESULTS:

We employed a combination of growth and enzymatic assays, and a bioanalysis approach combined with metagenomics. B-GUS of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii converted PhIP-G to PhIP and GDH of Flavonifractor plautii, Blautia obeum, Eubacterium hallii, and Lactobacillus reuteri converted PhIP to PhIP-M1 in the presence of glycerol. In addition, B-GUS- and GDH-positive bacteria cooperatively converted PhIP-G to PhIP-M1. A screen of genes encoding B-GUS and GDH was performed for fecal microbiome data from healthy individuals (n = 103) and from CRC patients (n = 53), which revealed a decrease in abundance of taxa with confirmed GDH and HCA transformation activity in CRC patients.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study for the first time demonstrates that gut microbes mediate the stepwise transformation of PhIP-G to PhIP-M1 via the intermediate production of PhIP. Findings from this study suggest that targeted manipulation with gut microbes bearing specific functions, or dietary glycerol supplementation might modify gut microbial activity to reduce HCA-induced CRC risk.

KEYWORDS:

Eubacterium hallii; Faecalibacterium prausnitzii; Glycerol/diol dehydratase; Heterocyclic amines (HCA); Reuterin; β-Glucuronidase

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