Symbiotic polyamine metabolism regulates epithelial proliferation and macrophage differentiation in the colon

Atsuo Nakamura, Shin Kurihara, Daisuke Takahashi, Wakana Ohashi, Yutaka Nakamura, Shunsuke Kimura, Masayoshi Onuki, Aiko Kume, Yukiko Sasazawa, Yukihiro Furusawa, Yuuki Obata, Shinji Fukuda, Shinji Saiki, Mitsuharu Matsumoto, Koji Hase

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Citations (Scopus)


Intestinal microbiota-derived metabolites have biological importance for the host. Polyamines, such as putrescine and spermidine, are produced by the intestinal microbiota and regulate multiple biological processes. Increased colonic luminal polyamines promote longevity in mice. However, no direct evidence has shown that microbial polyamines are incorporated into host cells to regulate cellular responses. Here, we show that microbial polyamines reinforce colonic epithelial proliferation and regulate macrophage differentiation. Colonisation by wild-type, but not polyamine biosynthesis-deficient, Escherichia coli in germ-free mice raises intracellular polyamine levels in colonocytes, accelerating epithelial renewal. Commensal bacterium-derived putrescine increases the abundance of anti-inflammatory macrophages in the colon. The bacterial polyamines ameliorate symptoms of dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis in mice. These effects mainly result from enhanced hypusination of eukaryotic initiation translation factor. We conclude that bacterial putrescine functions as a substrate for symbiotic metabolism and is further absorbed and metabolised by the host, thus helping maintain mucosal homoeostasis in the intestine.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2105
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


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