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Our new publication appears in Nature: C. elegans as a model for inter-individual variation in metabolism

Thursday, July 07, 2022

Our health is greatly influenced by our genome and diet. It is difficult to study metabolic phenotypes as a function of diet and genetic variation in humans, because such studies require the collection of large sets of data under precisely controlled conditions. In this exciting collaboration with Schroeder and Andersen Labs, we show that C. elegans is an excellent model to study inter-individual variation of metabolism. We found significant variation in the metabolome of four C. elegans strains (equivalent to individuals), including in entirely novel metabolites. We discovered that some of these novel metabolites are conjugates between 3-hydroxypropionate (3HP) and amino acids (3HP-AAs) that are produced in a shunt-within-a-shunt pathway to compensate for a genetic variation in the enzyme that consumes 3HP. We added the formation of 3HP-AAs to our genome-scale metabolic network model of C. elegans as a first step toward a pan-iCEL1.0 model that describes metabolism not just in the laboratory strain, but that forms the start of a model for the whole species.

Click to read the full article in Nature.

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