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Summary from cited work: The gut microbiota can be altered by dietary interventions to prevent and treat various diseases. However, the mechanisms by which food products modulate commensals remain largely unknown. We demonstrate that plant-derived exosome-like nanoparticles (ELNs) are taken up by the gut microbiota and contain RNAs that alter microbiome composition and host physiology. Ginger ELNs (GELNs) are preferentially taken up by Lactobacillaceae in a GELN lipid-dependent manner and contain microRNAs that target various genes in Lactobacillus rhamnosus (LGG). Among these, GELN mdo-miR7267-3p-mediated targeting of the LGG monooxygenase ycnE yields increased indole-3-carboxaldehyde (I3A). GELN-RNAs or I3A, a ligand for aryl hydrocarbon receptor, are sufficient to induce production of IL-22, which is linked to barrier function improvement. These functions of GELN-RNAs can ameliorate mouse colitis via IL-22-dependent mechanisms. These findings reveal how plant products and their effects on the microbiome may be used to target specific host processes to alleviate disease.

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    This paper is covered in a This Week in Microbiology episode: http://www.microbe.tv/twim/twim-190/ which is easier to understand than the paper…

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      Dosage of ginger was 0.5mg of ginger/25g of body weight (low) or 10mg of ginger/25g of body weight. Subjects were mice. Presuming linear dose response by body weight that would be about 1g of ginger (low) or 1 ounce of ginger (high).

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        This is one of those mysterious ones – why would ginger produce microRNAs that impact gene expression in gut bacteria? Ginger root would need to interact with its soil microbiome. Maybe that is the source of these activities?