Researchers have discovered unknown reactions within gut microbiota , Intestinal microbiomas, a collection of many types of useful bacteria, are the key to our general well-being and health.

Recent studies have linked intestinal microbiomas with several beneficial properties, such as supporting the development of our immune system and preventing pathogens.

Many deadly pathogens are mobile, which means they can move spontaneously and their ability to infect is based on their response to various environmental signals. The main signal for pathogens are molecules (or metabolites) produced in the intestine.

Pathogens interpret different metabolites differently and are attracted or rejected by them (ie migrate to or away from them).

Metabolic Indol is an example of a small molecule of microbiomas that is abundant in the intestine and is a strong bacterial defense.

According to Dr. Pushkar Lele, Assistant Professor, and Dr. Arul Jayaraman, a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Artie McFerrin at A&M University in Texas, raised this fact to the simple question: “Why does indole – made by many species of bacteria benefit us – do good bacteria not collide with bad bacteria from?” Researchers have discovered unknown reactions within gut microbiota  .

To answer this question, the research team, including Lele, Jayaraman and Dr. Michael Manson of the Texas A&M Department of Biology heard the favorable response of E. coli intestinal bacteria to indole.

In an article in Proceedings by the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers describe the discovery of a hitherto unknown reaction to indole in which molecules appear to expel and attract bacteria.

This reaction to Janus – named after the Roman god Janus, who has two faces, one looking to the future and one looking to the past – has to do with how the indole is interpreted by bacterial chemoreceptors.

“We found that there were two indole-sensing receptors in E. coli,” Lele said. “You feel indole as a repellent and you feel indole as an attractant. Prolonged exposure to high concentrations of indole decreases receptor sensitivity, which interprets it as a repellent. As a result, indole only feels like an attractant.”

According to Jayaraman, Janus’s response showed many improvements, and this discovery could lead to a better understanding of the complexity of intestinal microbiomas. “Useful bacteria gather on the surface of the intestine based on several common properties,” Jayaraman said.

We suggest that such characteristic is the ability to produce or feel indole. The bacteria that produce indole can be grouped and grow in niches with high indole concentrations.

Because the bacteria that produce indole in the intestine are usually woven into a mucous layer among other bacteria, the concentration of indole decreases when you move away from the source of indole. Researchers have discovered unknown reactions within gut microbiota  .

Because pathogens tend to pass through the intestine relatively far from indole-producing bacteria, they are unlikely to find high indole concentrations over long periods of time. Therefore, they are not sensitive to the indole and the indole they encounter drives them away.

Research continues to show that it is important to have a diverse combination of beneficial bacteria in the gut. According to Lele, this research is a step towards understanding how intestinal microbiomas can change over time.

The key question is: “How do various types of bacteria colonize certain niches?” “We agree with part of this question,” Lele said. “The next step is to study the response of various types of bacteria to the mixture of various metabolites in the intestine.