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The human gut bacterial genotoxin colibactin alkylates DNA


Matthew R. Wilson, Yindi Jiang , Peter W. Villalta, Alessia Stornetta, Paul D. Boudreau, Andrea Carr√°, Caitlin A. Brennan, Eunyoung Chun, Lizzie Ngo, Leona D. Samson, Bevin P. Engelward, Wendy S. Garrett, Silvia Balbo, Emily P. Balskus

Colibactin is a genotoxic secondary metabolite made by organisms harboring the pks genomic island including Escherichia coli. The results described by Wilson M et al. demonstrate that the gut bacterial genotoxin colibactin alkylates DNA in vivo, providing mechanistic insights into how colibactin may contribute to colorectal cancer. Due to the ability of pks+ E. coli to generate DNA adducts in mammalian cells and in mice, the colibactin-derived DNA adducts could serve as a pks+ biomarker of E. coli exposure.

This could help to dissect the contribution of colibactin producing gut bacteria in CRC development and progression in humans.

Read more in: Wilson et al., 2019, Science 15 Feb 2019: Vol. 363, Issue 6428.

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  • Gastrointestinal System