2020 - Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


Trimethylamine (TMA) and its oxide TMAO are important biomolecules involved in disease-associated processes in humans (e.g., trimethylaminuria and cardiovascular diseases). TMAO in plasma (pTMAO) stems from intestinal TMA, which is formed from various components of the diet in a complex interplay between diet, gut microbiota, and the human host. Most approaches to prevent the occurrence of such deleterious molecules focus on actions to interfere with gut microbiota metabolism to limit the synthesis of TMA. Some human gut archaea however use TMAas terminal electron acceptor for producing methane, thus indicating that intestinal TMA does not accumulate in some human subjects. Therefore, a rational alternative approach is to eliminate neo-synthesized intestinal TMA. This can be achieved through bioremediation of TMA by these peculiar methanogenic archaea, either by stimulating or providing them, leading to a novel kind of next-generation probiotics referred to as archaebiotics. Finally, specific components which are involved in this archaeal metabolism could also be used as intestinal TMA sequesters, facilitating TMA excretion along with stool. Referring to a standard pharmacological approach, these TMA traps could be synthesized ex vivo and then delivered into the human gut. Another approach is the engineering of known probiotic strain in order to metabolize TMA, i.e., live engineered biotherapeutic products. These alternatives would require, however, to take into account the necessity of synthesizing the 22nd amino acid pyrrolysine, i.e., some specificities of the genetics of TMA-consuming archaea.Here, we present an overview of these different strategies and recent advances in the field that will sustain such biotechnological developments.

Fadhlaoui K., Arnal M.E, Martineau M., Camponova P., Ollivier B., O'Toole P.W., Brugère J.-F.
Archaea, specific genetic traits, and development of improved bacterial live biotherapeutic products: another face of next-generation probiotics. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 2020: 104(11): 4705–4716.