Genome-scale metabolic modelling of the human gut microbiome reveals changes in the glyoxylate and dicarboxylate metabolism in metabolic disorders

iScience. 2022 Jun 2;25(7):104513. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2022.104513. eCollection 2022 Jul 15.


The human gut microbiome has been associated with metabolic disorders including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and atherosclerosis. Understanding the contribution of microbiome metabolic changes is important for elucidating the role of gut bacteria in regulating metabolism. We used available metagenomics data from these metabolic disorders, together with genome-scale metabolic modeling of key bacteria in the individual and community-level to investigate the mechanistic role of the gut microbiome in metabolic diseases. Modeling predicted increased levels of glutamate consumption along with the production of ammonia, arginine, and proline in gut bacteria common across the disorders. Abundance profiles and network-dependent analysis identified the enrichment of tartrate dehydrogenase in the disorders. Moreover, independent plasma metabolite levels showed associations between metabolites including proline and tyrosine and an increased tartrate metabolism in healthy obese individuals. We, therefore, propose that an increased tartrate metabolism could be a significant mediator of the microbiome metabolic changes in metabolic disorders.

Keywords: Metabolomics; Microbiome; Omics; Systems biology.