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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BHNRC) » Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center » Diet, Genomics and Immunology Laboratory » Research » Research Project #429362

Research Project: Dietary Small RNAs, the Human Gut Microbiome, and Influence on Human Health

Location: Diet, Genomics and Immunology Laboratory

Project Number: 8040-51530-056-18-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 15, 2015
End Date: Sep 14, 2020

Objective:
To 1) use in-silico/bioinformatic approaches to identify candidate small RNAs targeting human gut microbiome genomes; 2) evaluate candidate dietary small RNAs’ effect on microbiome in-vivo; and 3) correlate small RNAs’ effect to observed changes in microbiome induced by plant-based diet or botanical supplements.

Approach:
Objective 1. To identify dietary small RNAs with complementarity to human gut microbiome genomes involved in critical microbial pathways using in-silico analysis. The complementarity between plant small RNAs and microbiome genomes has never been reported. Thus, in-silico analysis will be performed to compare small RNAs in plants to human microbiome genomes and identify candidate small RNAs. A perfect complement between small RNAs and microbiome genomes will serve as the molecular basis for potential interaction and efficacy. Objective 2. To validate candidate small RNAs for their efficacy in modulating the microbiome. Candidate small RNAs identified in Objective 1 will be evaluated for their in-vivo effect on the microbiome population and composition. Experimental animals will be supplemented with selected plant small RNAs, and metagenomic analysis will be performed to elucidate the changes in the microbiome. Objective 3. To correlate small RNAs’ effect to observed changes induced by plant-based diet or specific botanical supplements commercially available on the microbiome and health outcomes. Preliminary data suggests that supplementation of red cabbage microgreens could reverse the high-fat diet-induced change in the microbiome, which then correlated to lower body weight gain and improved circulating lipid profiles in an animal model. As a parallel approach and to complement Objective 2, small RNAs from red cabbage microgreens will be analyzed and added to a high fat diet to validate their effect on the microbiome and health-related outcomes such as body weight gain and lipid profiles.