Gut Microbes Send Signals to Host Mitochondria and control longevity!

Han et al Cell, Volume 169, Issue 7, 15 June 2017, Pages 1249–1262

A very interesting study looking at the role of gut microbiome on longevity.

Key findings

Certain bacterial strains/mutants protect the host from age-related diseases.

These bacterial mutants promote longevity through increased secretion of the polysaccharide colanic acid (CA). the common exopolysaccharide found in the Enterobacteriaceae. CA polymer consists glucose, galactose, fucose and glucuronic acid, together with acetate and pyruvate.

CA regulates mitochondrial dynamics in the host. Purified CA polymers are sufficient to promote longevity in the absence of bacteria.

The mitochondrial changes and longevity effects induced by CA are conserved across different species.

Mitochondria evolved from and share many metabolic pathways with bacteria. Thus, the microbiota may influence host by chemically communicating with their ancient intra-cellular relative, the mitochondria!! with CA serving as a messenger

Their results identified molecular targets for developing pro-longevity microbes