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In silico prediction reveals the existence of potential bioactive neuropeptides produced by the human gut microbiota

Blanco-Míguez, Aitor, Fdez-Riverola, Florentino, Lourenço, Anália, Sánchez, Borja
Food research international 2019 v.119 pp. 221-226
Clostridium, Lactobacillus, Ruminococcus, adiponectin, anti-inflammatory activity, databases, dendritic cells, digestive tract mucosa, glucose, homeostasis, intestinal microorganisms, mechanism of action, microbiome, nervous system, neuropeptides, prediction, probiotics, screening
This work reports on a large-scale potential neuropeptide activity screening in human gut microbiomes deposited in public databases. In our experimental approach, the sequences of the bioactive peptides collected in the MAHMI database, mainly predicted as immunomodulatory or antitumoral, were crossed with those of the neuroactive/digestive peptides. From 91,325,790 potential bioactive peptides, only 581 returned a match when crossed against the 5949 neuroactive peptides from the NeuroPep database and the 15 digestive hormones. Relevant bacterial taxa, such as Ruminococcus sp., Clostridium sp. were found among the main producers of the matching sequences, and many of the matches corresponded to adiponectin and the hormone produced by adipocites, which is involved in glucose homeostasis. These results show, for the first time, the presence of potentially bioactive peptides produced by gut microbiota members over the nervous cells, most notably, peptides with already predicted immunomodulatory or anti-inflammatory activity. Classical (Lactobacillus sp.) and next-generation (Faecalibacterium sp.) probiotics are shown to produce these peptides, which are proposed as a potential mechanism of action of psychobiotics. Our previous experimental results showed that many of these peptides were active when incubated with immune cells, such as dendritic cells, so their effect over the nervous system innervating the gut mucosa holds significant potential and should be explored.