Metabolic Signatures of Bacterial Vaginosis

Identification: Srinivasan, Sujatha


Metabolic Signatures of Bacterial Vaginosis
Sujatha Srinivasan
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA
The vaginal microbiome can impact the health of women, their sex partners, and their neonates. A hallmark of bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the transformation of the bacterial community from primarily Lactobacillus species to diverse anaerobes, with a corresponding change in the composition of small molecule metabolites in vaginal fluid. These metabolites impact at least three of four clinical criteria that are presently used to diagnose BV including elevated pH, presence of an amine odor, and detection of an abnormal vaginal discharge. Importantly, metabolites in the vagina reflect the complex enzymatic and metabolic pathways that drive bacterial metabolism of human derived nutrients, and these metabolites may influence human cell function, inflammation, and disease susceptibility. In this lecture, I will review recent investigations of vaginal fluid using untargeted metabolomics approaches that have identified hundreds of metabolites, and coupled these assessments with systematic characterization of the vaginal microbiota using broad-range 16S rRNA gene PCR and sequencing, or targeted measurements of vaginal bacteria using quantitative PCR. BV has been associated with strong metabolic signatures across multiple pathways affecting amino acid, carbohydrate, and lipid metabolism, and these metabolites have been correlated to bacterial communities and individual bacterial species. Longitudinal measurements of metabolites and bacterial species within the same participant have illustrated that changes in the microbiota are associated with shifts in metabolites, while stability of the microbiota is associated with fewer changes in metabolites, supporting the notion that metabolites in vaginal fluid are products of bacterial metabolism. We will further discuss how microbiome studies that integrate both taxonomic profiling and metabolomics help to disentangle underlying metabolic networks of bacterial communities in BV, thereby providing opportunities for the development of new diagnostic markers and novel approaches for the treatment or prevention of BV.
Funded by NIH R01 AI061628 and HG005816


Credits: None available.

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