Bacterial peptide iAM373: a novel player in sarcopenia

October 31, 2022

We are very proud to announce that our findings about a novel role for quorum sensing peptide iAM373 in sarcopenia have recently been published in Clinical and Translational Medicine, a journal publishing high-impact findings in medical research.

Sarcopenia, the accelerated loss of muscle mass, strength and function with ageing, is an important health challenge associated with decreased quality of life and increased mortality. Unfortunately the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms are very poorly understood. In recent years there has been increasing evidence for a role of gut bacteria in this process, without the bacterial factors being well-defined. In this study, the potential role of quorum sensing peptide iAM373 in sarcopenia was explored.

Previous in vitro screenings from our group showed that quorum sensing peptides can potentially impact muscle cells [1]. In this study published in Clinical and Translational Medicine, we demonstrate that iAM373, a quorum sensing peptide produced by the gut bacteria E. faecalis, decreases metabolic activity in murine and human muscle cells. Incubation of iAM373 with the worm C. elegans induces a sarcopenic phenotype, i.e. the worms have a decreased motility. We measured the worm movements using automated mobility software. Further, we developed a bio-analytical method to measure iAM373 in murine as well as human plasma. Using this method, we were able to detect IAM373 in human plasma for the first time. Moreover, the presence of this peptide in plasma was associated with a decreased gait speed in older people.

This study also explores the underlying mechanisms of iAM373 affecting muscle. Using RNA-sequencing, we identified biological pathways involved in muscle development and differentiation, as well as in protein degradation which are affected by iAM373.

In summary, iAM373 was uncovered as a novel inductor of sarcopenia, opening new perspectives for the treatment of this unmet medical need. Read the publication here

[1] A. De Spiegeleer, D. Elewaut, N. Van den Noortgate, Y. Janssens, N. Debunne, S. Van Langenhove, S. Govindarajan, B. De Spiegeleer, E. Wynendaele, Quorum sensing molecules as a novel microbial factor impacting muscle cells, Biochimica Et Biophysica Acta-Molecular Basis of Disease 1866(3) (2020)