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Front. Immunol. | doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.00319

Amino acids as mediators of metabolic crosstalk between host and pathogen

 Wenkai Ren1*, Yuanyuan Zhao2, Xiaoshan Huang3 and Jinping Deng2
  • 1Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
  • 2College of Animal Science, China
  • 3Changsha Medical University, China

The interaction between host and pathogen decidedly shapes the outcome of an infection, thus understanding this interaction is critical to the treatment of a pathogen infection. Although research in this area has yielded surprising findings in cell biology regarding interactions between host and pathogen, we have limited understanding of the metabolic crosstalk between host and pathogen. At the site of infection, host and pathogen share similar or identical nutritional substrates and generate common metabolic products, thus metabolic crosstalk between host and pathogen could profoundly affect the pathogenesis of an infection. In this review, we will present results regarding a recent discovery of a metabolic interaction between host and pathogen with amino acids (AA) metabolism-centric point of view. The host depends on AA metabolism to support defensive responses against the pathogen, while the pathogen modulates AA metabolism for its own advantage. Some AA, such as arginine, asparagine and tryptophan, are central points of competition between the host and pathogen. Thus, a better understanding of AA-mediated metabolic crosstalk between host and pathogen will provide insight into fruitful therapeutic approaches to manipulate and prevent progression of an infection.

Keywords: Amino Acids, Arginine, Asparagine, Metabolism, Infection

Received: 08 Nov 2017; Accepted: 05 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Yves Renaudineau, Université de Bretagne Occidentale, France

Reviewed by:

Ricardo Silvestre, Instituto de Pesquisa em Ciências da Vida e da Saúde (ICVS), Portugal
Miguel Prudêncio, Instituto de Medicina Molecular (IMM), Portugal  

Copyright: © 2018 Ren, Zhao, Huang and Deng. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Wenkai Ren, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China,