Infection-elicited microbiota promotes host adaptation to nutrient restriction.

24 Jan 2023
De Siqueira MK, Andrade-Oliveira V, Stacy A, Pedro Tôrres Guimarães J, Wesley Alberca-Custodio R, Castoldi A, Marques Santos J, Davoli-Ferreira M, Menezes-Silva L, Miguel Turato W, Han SJ, Glatman Zaretsky A, Hand TW, Olsen Saraiva Câmara N, Russo M, Jancar S, Morais da Fonseca D, Belkaid Y

The microbiota performs multiple functions vital to host fitness, including defense against pathogens and adaptation to dietary changes. Yet, how environmental challenges shape microbiota resilience to nutrient fluctuation remains largely unexplored. Here, we show that transient gut infection can optimize host metabolism toward the usage of carbohydrates. Following acute infection and clearance of the pathogen, mice gained more weight as a result of white adipose tissue expansion. Concomitantly, previously infected mice exhibited enhanced carbohydrate (glucose) disposal and insulin sensitivity. This metabolic remodeling depended on alterations to the gut microbiota, with infection-elicited being sufficient to enhance host carbohydrate metabolism. Further, infection-induced metabolic alteration protected mice against stunting in the context of limited nutrient availability. Together, these results propose that alterations to the microbiota imposed by acute infection may enhance host fitness and survival in the face of nutrient restriction, a phenomenon that may be adaptive in settings where both infection burden and food precarity are prevalent.