How Our Other Genome Controls Our Epi-Genome

Trends Microbiol. 2016 Oct;24(10):777-787. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2016.05.005. Epub 2016 Jun 8.


Eukaryotes and prokaryotes produce extracellular nanovescicles that contain RNAs and other molecules that they exploit to communicate. Recently, inter-kingdom crosstalk was demonstrated between humans and bacteria through fecal microRNAs. We suggest here how bacteria interact with humans via RNAs within membrane vesicles to alter our epigenome, thus filling the gap and closing the circle. At the same time, there are indications that there could be a wider inter-kingdom communication network that might encompass all known kingdoms. Now that the connection with our other genome has been established, we also should begin to explore the 'social' network that we have around us.

Keywords: epigenetics; exosomes; gut microbiota; non-coding RNAs; outer-membrane vesicles.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane Structures / physiology
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Eukaryota / genetics
  • Exosomes / genetics
  • Extracellular Vesicles / metabolism*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Genome, Human*
  • Humans
  • RNA, Bacterial / genetics*
  • RNA, Untranslated / genetics


  • RNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Untranslated