A microbial transporter of the dietary antioxidant ergothioneine.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Cell, Volume 185, Issue 24, p.4526-4540.e18 (2022)


Antioxidants, Ergothioneine, Humans, Molecular Weight, Oxidation-Reduction, Sulfhydryl Compounds


<p>Low-molecular-weight (LMW) thiols are small-molecule antioxidants required for the maintenance of intracellular redox homeostasis. However, many host-associated microbes, including the gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori, unexpectedly lack LMW-thiol biosynthetic pathways. Using reactivity-guided metabolomics, we identified the unusual LMW thiol ergothioneine (EGT) in H.&nbsp;pylori. Dietary EGT accumulates to millimolar levels in human tissues and has been broadly implicated in mitigating disease risk. Although certain microorganisms synthesize EGT, we discovered that H.&nbsp;pylori acquires this LMW thiol from the host environment using a highly selective ATP-binding cassette transporter-EgtUV. EgtUV confers a competitive colonization advantage in&nbsp;vivo and is widely conserved in gastrointestinal microbes. Furthermore, we found that human fecal bacteria metabolize EGT, which may contribute to production of the disease-associated metabolite trimethylamine N-oxide. Collectively, our findings illustrate a previously unappreciated mechanism of microbial redox regulation in the gut and suggest that inter-kingdom competition for dietary EGT may broadly impact human health.</p>

8DP6, 8DP7