Microbiota–mitochondria inter-talk: consequence for microbiota–host interaction

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Abstract

New discoveries in metagenomics and clinical research have highlighted the importance of the gut microbiota for human health through the regulation of the host immune response and energetic metabolism. The microbiota interacts with host cells in particular by intermingling with the mitochondrial activities. This mitochondria–microbiota cross-talk is intriguing because mitochondria share many common structural and functional features with the prokaryotic world. Several studies reported a correlation between microbiota quality and diversity and mitochondrial function. The mitochondrial production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) plays an important role during the innate immune response and inflammation, and is often targeted by pathogenic bacteria. Data suggest that excessive mitochondrial ROS production may affect ROS signaling induced by the microbiota to regulate the gut epithelial barrier. Finally, the microbiota releases metabolites that can directly interfere with the mitochondrial respiratory chain and ATP production. Short chain fatty acids have beneficial effects on mitochondrial activity. All these data suggest that the microbiota targets mitochondria to regulate its interaction with the host. Imbalance of this targeting may result in a pathogenic state as observed in numerous studies. The challenge to find new treatments will be to find strategies to modulate the quality and diversity of the microbiota rather than acting on microbiota metabolites and microbiota-related factors.

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