Episode Summary

Certain phages in the gut are linked with increases in performance on some cognitive tests!

Microbe of the episode:

Streptomyces bikiniensis

News Item

Jesse's takeaways

Our gut microbiota includes a large number of viruses, mostly bacteriophages. These fall into two groups, the lytic kind that infects and reproduces itself immediately in a host, and the lysogenic kind that can integrate its genome into the host bacterial genome and remain dormant for long periods.

In this study, a higher proportion of lysogenic phages was correlated with increased performance on cognitive tests in multiple species. In humans, men showed a small increase in some tests and women in others. In mice and fruit flies, transplant or ingestion of phages was linked to increased memory performance.

Journal Paper

Mayneris-Perxachs J, Castells-Nobau A, Arnoriaga-Rodríguez M, Garre-Olmo J, Puig J, Ramos R, Martínez-Hernández F, Burokas A, Coll C, Moreno-Navarrete JM, Zapata-Tona C, Pedraza S, Pérez-Brocal V, Ramió-Torrentà L, Ricart W, Moya A, Martínez-García M, Maldonado R, Fernández-Real J-M. 2022. Caudovirales bacteriophages are associated with improved executive function and memory in flies, mice, and humans. Cell Host Microbe 30:340-356.e8.


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Lysogenic phage By Rolf Lood et al.