Controlled, reductionist approaches are required in order to obtain a more complete understanding of the functional capabilities of the gut microbiota. We recently identified microbial bile salt hydrolase (BSH) activity as a gut microbial activity that has the capacity to profoundly alter both local (gastrointestinal) and systemic (hepatic) host functions. Using both germ free and conventionally-raised mouse models we demonstrated that gastrointestinal expression of BSH results in local bile acid deconjugation with concomitant alterations in lipid and cholesterol metabolism, signaling functions and weight gain. Key mediators of cholesterol homeostasis (Abcg5/8), gut homeostasis (RegIIIγ) and circadian rhythm (Dbp) were influenced by elevated BSH in our study. In this addendum we discuss the implications of this work for the rational development of probiotics with the potential to modulate host weight gain.
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