ISSN / EISSN : 2218-1989 / 2218-1989
Published by: MDPI (10.3390)
Total articles ≅ 1,942
Latest articles in this journal
Metabolites, Volume 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo11100708
Green and white asparagus are quite different crops but can be harvested from the same plant. They have distinct morphological differences due to their mode of cultivation and they are characterised by having contrasting appearance and flavour. Significant chemical differences are therefore expected. Spears from three varieties of both green and white forms, harvested in two consecutive seasons were analysed using headspace GC-MS and LC-MS with an untargeted metabolomic workflow. Mainly C5 and C8 alcohols and aldehydes, and phenolic compounds were more abundant in green spears, whereas benzenoids, monoterpenes, unsaturated aldehydes and steroidal saponins were more abundant in white ones. Previously reported key asparagus volatiles and non-volatiles were detected at similar or not significantly different levels in the two asparagus types. Spatial metabolomics revealed also that many volatiles with known positive aroma attributes were significantly more abundant in the upper parts of the spears and showed a decreasing trend towards the base. These findings provide valuable insights into the metabolome of raw asparagus, the contrasts between green and white spears as well as the different chemical distributions along the stem.
Metabolites, Volume 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo11100706
Citrate is a crucial energy sensor that plays a central role in cellular metabolic homeostasis. The solute carrier family 13 member 5 (SLC13A5), a sodium-coupled citrate transporter highly expressed in the mammalian liver with relatively low levels in the testis and brain, imports citrate from extracellular spaces into the cells. The perturbation of SLC13A5 expression and/or activity is associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, obesity, insulin resistance, cell proliferation, and early infantile epileptic encephalopathy. SLC13A5 has been proposed as a promising therapeutic target for the treatment of these metabolic disorders. In the liver, the inductive expression of SLC13A5 has been linked to several xenobiotic receptors such as the pregnane X receptor and the aryl hydrocarbon receptor as well as certain hormonal and nutritional stimuli. Nevertheless, in comparison to the heightened interest in understanding the biological function and clinical relevance of SLC13A5, studies focusing on the regulatory mechanisms of SLC13A5 expression are relatively limited. In this review, we discuss the current advances in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms by which the expression of SLC13A5 is regulated. We expect this review will provide greater insights into the regulation of the SLC13A5 gene transcription and the signaling pathways involved therein.
Metabolites, Volume 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo11100707
Open microalgal ponds used in industrial biomass production are susceptible to a number of biotic and abiotic environmental stressors (e.g., grazers, pathogens, pH, temperature, etc.) resulting in pond crashes with high economic costs. Identification of signature chemicals to aid in rapid, non-invasive, and accurate identification of the stressors would facilitate targeted and effective treatment to save the algal crop from a catastrophic crash. Specifically, we were interested in identifying volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be used to as an early diagnostic for algal crop damage. Cultures of Microchloropsis gaditana were subjected to two forms of algal crop damage: (1) active grazing by the marine rotifer, Brachionus plicatilis, or (2) repeated freeze–thaw cycles. VOCs emitted above the headspace of these algal cultures were collected using fieldable solid phase microextraction (SPME) fibers. An untargeted analysis and identification of VOCs was conducted using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Diagnostic VOCs unique to each algal crop damage mechanism were identified. Active rotifer grazing of M. gaditana was characterized by the appearance of carotenoid degradation products, including β-cyclocitral and various alkenes. Freeze–thaw algae produced a different set of VOCs, including palmitoleic acid. Both rotifer grazing and freeze–thawed algae produced β-ionone as a VOC, possibly suggesting a common stress-induced cellular mechanism. Importantly, these identified VOCs were all absent from healthy algal cultures of M. gaditana. Early detection of biotic or abiotic environmental stressors will facilitate early diagnosis and application of targeted treatments to prevent algal pond crashes. Thus, our work further supports the use of VOCs for monitoring the health of algal ponds to ultimately enhance algal crop yields for production of biofuel.
Metabolites, Volume 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo11100705
I’m Not Dead Yet(Indy) is a fly gene that encodes a homologue of mammalian SLC13A5 plasma membrane citrate transporter. Reducing expression of Indy gene in flies, and its homologues in worms, extends longevity. Indy reduction in flies, worms, mice and rats affects metabolism by regulating the levels of cytoplasmic citrate, inducing a state similar to calorie restriction. Changes include lower lipid levels, increased insulin sensitivity, increased mitochondrial biogenesis, and prevention of weight gain, among others. The INDY protein is predominantly expressed in fly metabolic tissues: the midgut, fat body and oenocytes. Changes in fly midgut metabolism associated with reduced Indy gene activity lead to preserved mitochondrial function and reduced production of reactive oxygen species. All these changes lead to preserved intestinal stem cell homeostasis, which has a key role in maintaining intestinal epithelium function and enhancing fly healthspan and lifespan. Indy gene expression levels change in response to caloric content of the diet, inflammation and aging, suggesting that INDY regulates metabolic adaptation to nutrition or energetic requirements by controlling citrate levels.
Metabolites, Volume 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo11100704
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have been proposed in the last two decades as biomarkers for disease detection and therapeutic monitoring. Model in vitro experiments with established cell lines are fundamental to clarify whether given VOCs originate from normal human cells or pathogens, including transformed cancer cells. Due to the trace concentrations of target metabolites, adsorptive enrichment is needed before gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis, with solid-phase microextraction (SPME) being perfectly suited for this purpose. Here, a modification of SPME, the thin-film microextraction (TFME) technique, is proposed for analysis of cellular VOCs, which utilizes a planar mesh coated with stationary phase to increase the extraction phase volume and active surface area. In this study, four different adsorbents were compared: carboxen, divinylbenzene, hydrophobic−lipophilic balanced and polydimethylsiloxane. Amongst them, HLB sheets using poly(divinylbenzene-co-N-vinyl-pyrrolidone) skeleton structure proved to be the most versatile, enabling the most sensitive analysis of VOCs with a broad polarity and volatility. For HLB, sampling type (internal static headspace, external bi-directional headspace), extraction temperature and extraction time were also examined. An established method was successfully applied to analyze metabolites produced by A549 cells revealing five volatiles at significantly higher (additionally benzaldehyde at lower) levels in cell culture medium compared to the cell-free reference medium headspace.
Metabolites, Volume 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo11100702
Cesarean delivery and formula feeding have both been implicated as important factors associated with perturbations to the infant gut microbiome. To investigate the functional metabolic response of the infant gut microbial milieu to these factors, we profiled the stool metabolomes of 121 infants from a US pregnancy cohort study at approximately 6 weeks of life and evaluated associations with delivery mode and feeding method. Multivariate analysis of six-week stool metabolomic profiles indicated discrimination by both delivery mode and diet. For diet, exclusively breast-fed infants exhibited metabolomic profiles that were distinct from both exclusively formula-fed and combination-fed infants, which were relatively more similar to each other in metabolomic profile. We also identified individual metabolites that were important for differentiating delivery mode groups and feeding groups and metabolic pathways related to delivery mode and feeding type. We conclude based on previous work and this current study that the microbial communities colonizing the gastrointestinal tracts of infants are not only taxonomically, but also functionally distinct when compared according to delivery mode and feeding groups. Further, different sets of metabolites and metabolic pathways define delivery mode and diet metabotypes.
Metabolites, Volume 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo11100700
Malassezia are common components of human skin, and as the dominant human skin eukaryotic microbe, they take part in complex microbe–host interactions. Other phylogenetically related fungi (including within Ustilagomycotina) communicate with their plant host through bioactive oxygenated polyunsaturated fatty acids, generally known as oxylipins, by regulating the plant immune system to increase their virulence. Oxylipins are similar in structure and function to human eicosanoids, which modulate the human immune system. This study reports the development of a highly sensitive mass-spectrometry-based method to capture and quantify bioactive oxygenated polyunsaturated fatty acids from the human skin surface and in vitro Malassezia cultures. It confirms that Malassezia are capable of synthesizing eicosanoid-like lipid mediators in vitro in a species dependent manner, many of which are found on human skin. This method enables sensitive identification and quantification of bioactive lipid mediators from human skin that may be derived from metabolic pathways shared between skin and its microbial residents. This enables better cross-disciplinary and detailed studies to dissect the interaction between Malassezia and human skin, and to identify potential intervention points to promote or abrogate inflammation and to improve human skin health.
Metabolites, Volume 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo11100699
SARS-CoV-2 is causing the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, for which effective pharmacological therapies are needed. SARS-CoV-2 induces a shift of the host cell metabolism towards glycolysis, and the glycolysis inhibitor 2-deoxy-d-glucose (2DG), which interferes with SARS-CoV-2 infection, is under development for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. The glycolytic pathway generates intermediates that supply the non-oxidative branch of the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP). In this study, the analysis of proteomics data indicated increased transketolase (TKT) levels in SARS-CoV-2-infected cells, suggesting that a role is played by the non-oxidative PPP. In agreement, the TKT inhibitor benfooxythiamine (BOT) inhibited SARS-CoV-2 replication and increased the anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity of 2DG. In conclusion, SARS-CoV-2 infection is associated with changes in the regulation of the PPP. The TKT inhibitor BOT inhibited SARS-CoV-2 replication and increased the activity of the glycolysis inhibitor 2DG. Notably, metabolic drugs like BOT and 2DG may also interfere with COVID-19-associated immunopathology by modifying the metabolism of immune cells in addition to inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 replication. Hence, they may improve COVID-19 therapy outcomes by exerting antiviral and immunomodulatory effects.
Metabolites, Volume 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo11100703
Fu brick tea (FBT) is one of the major brands of dark tea. Microbial fermentation is considered the key step in the development of the special characteristics of FBT. The systemic corelationship of the microbiome and metabolomics during manufacture of Fu brick tea is not fully understood. In this study, we comprehensively explored the microbiome and metabolite dynamic evolution during the FBT manufacturing processes, and revealed decisive factors for the quality and safety of FBT based on the grouped methods of metabolomics combined with biochemical measurements, microbiome sequencing combined with quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and multiplex analysis. Both the microbiome and quantitative PCR showed that fungi displayed concentrated distribution characteristics in the primary dark tea samples, while bacterial richness increased during the flowering processes and ripening period. All microorganism species, as well as dominant fungi and bacteria, were identified in the distinct processes periods. A total of 178 metabolites were identified, and 34 of them were characterized as critical metabolites responsible for metabolic changes caused by the corresponding processes. Metabolic analysis showed that most metabolites were decreased during the FBT manufacturing processes, with the exception of gallic acid. Multivariate analysis verified that the critical metabolites were correlated with specific dominant microbial species. All the top fungal species except unclassified_g_ Aspergillus showed positive correlations with six critical metabolites (L-The, epigallocatechin (EGC), Gln, tea polyphenol (TP), tea polysaccharides (TPs) and caffeine). Five of the top bacteria species (Cronobacter, Klebsiella, Pantoea, Pluralibacter, and unclassified_ f_Entero-bacteriaceae) showed positive correlations with epigallocatechins and tea polyphenols, while the other 11 top bacterial species correlated negatively with all the critical metabolites. The content of amino acids, tea polyphenols, tea polysaccharides, and flavonoids was reduced during microbial fermentation. In conclusion, our results reveal that microbial composition is the critical factor in changing the metabolic profile of FBT. This discovery provides a theoretical basis for improving the quality of FBT and enhancing its safety.
Metabolites, Volume 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo11100701
Certain symptoms associated with mild sickness and lethargy have not been categorized as definitive diseases. Confirming such symptoms in captive monkeys (Macaca fascicularis, known as cynomolgus monkeys) can be difficult; however, it is possible to observe and analyze their feces. In this study, we investigated the relationship between stool state and various omics data by considering objective and quantitative values of stool water content as a phenotype for analysis. By examining the food intake of the monkeys and assessing their stool, urine, and plasma, we attempted to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the health status of individual monkeys and correlate it with the stool condition. Our metabolomics data strongly suggested that many lipid-related metabolites were correlated with the stool water content. The lipidomic analysis revealed the involvement of saturated and oxidized fatty acids, metallomics revealed the contribution of selenium (a bio-essential trace element), and intestinal microbiota analysis revealed the association of several bacterial species with the stool water content. Based on our results, we hypothesize that the redox imbalance causes minor health problems. However, it is not possible to make a definite conclusion using multi-omics alone, and other hypotheses could be proposed.