Molecular Paths Linking Metabolic Diseases, Gut Microbiota Dysbiosis and Enterobacteria Infections

J Mol Biol. 2018 Mar 2;430(5):581-590. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2018.01.010. Epub 2018 Jan 31.


Alterations of both ecology and functions of gut microbiota are conspicuous traits of several inflammatory pathologies, notably metabolic diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. Moreover, the proliferation of enterobacteria, subdominant members of the intestinal microbial ecosystem, has been shown to be favored by Western diet, the strongest inducer of both metabolic diseases and gut microbiota dysbiosis. The inner interdependence between the host and the gut microbiota is based on a plethora of molecular mechanisms by which host and intestinal microbes modify each other. Among these mechanisms are as follows: (i) the well-known metabolic impact of short chain fatty acids, produced by microbial fermentation of complex carbohydrates from plants; (ii) a mutual modulation of miRNAs expression, both on the eukaryotic (host) and prokaryotic (gut microbes) side; (iii) the production by enterobacteria of virulence factors such as the genotoxin colibactin, shown to alter the integrity of host genome and induce a senescence-like phenotype in vitro; (iv) the microbial excretion of outer-membrane vesicles, which, in addition to other functions, may act as a carrier for multiple molecules such as toxins to be delivered to target cells. In this review, I describe the major molecular mechanisms by which gut microbes exert their metabolic impact at a multi-organ level (the gut barrier being in the front line) and support the emerging triad of metabolic diseases, gut microbiota dysbiosis and enterobacteria infections.

Keywords: OMVs; enterobacteria infections; gut microbiota dysbiosis; metabolic diseases; microRNAs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Toxins / metabolism
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism
  • Dysbiosis / metabolism*
  • Enterobacteriaceae / pathogenicity*
  • Enterobacteriaceae Infections / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Host Microbial Interactions* / physiology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / physiology
  • Metabolic Diseases / metabolism*
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • Mutagens / metabolism
  • Peptides / metabolism
  • Polyketides / metabolism
  • Virulence Factors / metabolism


  • Bacterial Toxins
  • Fatty Acids
  • MicroRNAs
  • Mutagens
  • Peptides
  • Polyketides
  • Virulence Factors
  • colibactin