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The intestinal milieu is astonishingly complex and home to a constantly changing mixture of small and large molecules, along with an abundance of bacteria, viral particles, and eukaryotic cells. Such complexity makes it difficult to develop testable molecular hypotheses regarding host-microbe interactions. Fortunately, mammals and their associated gastrointestinal (GI) microbes contain complementary systems that are ideally suited for mechanistic studies. Mammalian systems inactivate endobiotic and xenobiotic compounds by linking them to a glucuronic acid sugar for GI excretion. In the GI tract, the microbiota express β-glucuronidase enzymes that remove the glucuronic acid as a carbon source, effectively reversing the actions of mammalian inactivation. Thus, by probing the actions of microbial β-glucuronidases, and by understanding which substrate glucuronides they process, molecular insights into mammalian-microbial symbioses may be revealed amid the complexity of the intestinal tract. Here, we focus on glucuronides in the gut and the microbial proteins that process them. © 2017 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.


Samuel J Pellock, Matthew R Redinbo. Glucuronides in the gut: Sugar-driven symbioses between microbe and host. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2017 May 26;292(21):8569-8576

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PMID: 28389557

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