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Chambers M C , et al., Listeria Monocytogenes Infection Causes Metabolic Shifts in Drosophila Melanogaster. PLoS ONE, 2012. 7(12): e50679.

SYNOPSIS

Metabolon results led to:
- Important insights into how metabolism and innate immunity are coupled
- Novel pathways that offer possible avenues for manipulating the innate immune response for combating infection


Key metabolomic observations:

- Wide-scale changes in energy metabolism with Listeria monocytogenes infection
- Novel pathway changes with infection (uric acid metabolism)


Synopsis
Although immunity and metabolism are tightly linked, this connection is not well understood and often unappreciated. Deeper understanding may allow for more effective manipulation (through diet, environment or drugs) to alter survival during infection. Thus, investigators used a model of innate immunity (lethal L. monocytogenes infection of Drosophila melanogaster) to investigate metabolic changes coupled to the event. Metabolomics revealed profound changes in pathways of energy metabolism (beta-oxidation and glycolysis). In addition to energy pathway changes, significant reductions in the anti-oxidant uric acid were noted and uricase mutants were shown to be more resistant to infection by some strains of bacteria and had improved survival upon wounding. This study lays a foundation for further investigation of the metabolic-immune connection with the ultimate goal of facilitating treatments/modalities for combating infection.

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