PhageGut - phages for target specific manipulation of the gut microbiota
PROJECT IS COMPLETED
Project period: 2016 - 2019
Several human diseases are interrelated to imbalances or changes in the gut microbiota (GM) composition. Such imbalances, which often manifest early in life, have for instance been found to precede to later obesity, making early intervention through GM manipulation attractive. Consequently, there is strong scientific and commercial interest in developing target-specific GM manipulation tools.
Bacteriophages (phages) are viruses attacking bacteria in a host strain specific manner and there is a growing understanding that phages play key roles in shaping GM composition.
In PhageGut we hypothesise that phages can be used for target-specific GM manipulation and aim to use phages to prevent obesity development in predisposed young individuals. Using mice as model the main outcomes of PhageGut are:
- Understand the importance of host-phage interactions on the GM composition
- Study in vivo interactions between phages and hosts, including the arms race between phages and their hosts through CRISPR-Cas systems
- Detailed investigations of the possibilities for targeted GM manipulation driving the GM from disease phenotypes to a healthy phenotype using virulent phages
The study is published in the scientific journal Gut in March 2020.
Read a popular science article about the results: Viruses from poo can help combat obesity and diabetes
Phagegut has received a 3 year funding from Independent Research Fund Denmark. Technology and Production Sciences, grant ID: DFF - 6111-00316. Total grant: 6,293,061 DKK
Grant owner: Professor with special responsibilities Dennis Sandris Nielsen, Dept. Food Science, University of Copenhagen
Project partners: University of Copenhagen (Dept. Food Science, Dept. Veterinary and Disease Biology), Århus University (Dept. Environmental Science), Max Rubner-Institute, Université Laval, Universidad de los Andes
Project: PhageGut – Phages for target specific manipulation of the gut microbiota