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Multidirectional Chemical Signalling Between Mammalian Hosts, Resident Microbiota, and Invasive Pathogens: Neuroendocrine Hormone-Induced Changes in Bacterial Gene Expression

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Anjam Khan


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Host-pathogen communication appears to be crucial in establishing the outcome of bacterial infections. There is increasing evidence to suggest that this communication can take place by bacterial pathogens sensing and subsequently responding to host neuroendocrine (NE) stress hormones. Bacterial pathogens have developed mechanisms allowing them to eavesdrop on these communication pathways within their hosts. These pathogens can use intercepted communication signals to adjust their fitness to persist and cause disease in their hosts. Recently, there have been numerous studies highlighting the ability of NE hormones to act as an environmental cue for pathogens, helping to steer their responses during host infection. Host NE hormone sensing can take place indirectly or directly via bacterial adrenergic receptors (BARs). The resulting changes in bacterial gene expression can be of strategic benefit to the pathogen. Furthermore, it is intriguing that not only can bacteria sense NE stress hormones but they are also able to produce key signalling molecules known as autoinducers. The rapid advances in our knowledge of the human microbiome, and its impact on health and disease highlights the potential importance of communication between the microbiota, pathogens and the host. It is indeed likely that the microbiota input significantly in the neuroendocrinological homeostasis of the host by catabolic, anabolic, and signalling processes. The arrival of unwanted guests, such as bacterial pathogens, clearly has a major impact on these delicately balanced interactions. Unravelling the pathways involved in interkingdom communication between invading bacterial pathogens, the resident microbiota, and hosts, may provide novel targets in our continuous search for new antimicrobials to control disease.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Karavolos MH, Khan CMA

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Microbial Endocrinology: The Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis in Health and Disease

Year: 2014

Volume: 817

Pages: 241-253

Print publication date: 09/06/2014

Series Title: Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology

Publisher: Springer

Place Published: New York


DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4939-0897-4_11


Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781493908967