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Article

Inhibitory Effects of Artificial Sweeteners on Bacterial Quorum Sensing

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Department of Medical Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Near East University, Nicosia 99138, Cyprus
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Avram and Stella Goldstein-Goren Department of Biotechnology Engineering, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Be’er Sheva 84105, Israel
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Department of Medical Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Girne American University, Kyrenia 99428, Cyprus
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Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, Girne American University, Kyrenia 99428, Cyprus
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The Ilse Katz Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Be’er Sheva 84105, Israel
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School of Sustainability and Climate Change, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Be’er Sheva 84105, Israel
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Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paola Brun
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(18), 9863; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22189863
Received: 25 August 2021 / Revised: 9 September 2021 / Accepted: 10 September 2021 / Published: 13 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Microbiology)
Despite having been tagged as safe and beneficial, recent evidence remains inconclusive regarding the status of artificial sweeteners and their putative effects on gut microbiota. Gut microorganisms are essential for the normal metabolic functions of their host. These microorganisms communicate within their community and regulate group behaviors via a molecular system termed quorum sensing (QS). In the present study, we aimed to study the effects of artificial sweeteners on this bacterial communication system. Using biosensor assays, biophysical protein characterization methods, microscale thermophoresis, swarming motility assays, growth assays, as well as molecular docking, we show that aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin have significant inhibitory actions on the Gram-negative bacteria N-acyl homoserine lactone-based (AHL) communication system. Our studies indicate that these three artificial sweeteners are not bactericidal. Protein-ligand docking and interaction profiling, using LasR as a representative participating receptor for AHL, suggest that the artificial sweeteners bind to the ligand-binding pocket of the protein, possibly interfering with the proper housing of the native ligand and thus impeding protein folding. Our findings suggest that these artificial sweeteners may affect the balance of the gut microbial community via QS-inhibition. We, therefore, infer an effect of these artificial sweeteners on numerous molecular events that are at the core of intestinal microbial function, and by extension on the host metabolism. View Full-Text
Keywords: quorum sensing; artificial sweeteners; gut microbiota; normobiosis; dysbiosis quorum sensing; artificial sweeteners; gut microbiota; normobiosis; dysbiosis
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MDPI and ACS Style

Markus, V.; Share, O.; Shagan, M.; Halpern, B.; Bar, T.; Kramarsky-Winter, E.; Teralı, K.; Özer, N.; Marks, R.S.; Kushmaro, A.; Golberg, K. Inhibitory Effects of Artificial Sweeteners on Bacterial Quorum Sensing. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22, 9863. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22189863

AMA Style

Markus V, Share O, Shagan M, Halpern B, Bar T, Kramarsky-Winter E, Teralı K, Özer N, Marks RS, Kushmaro A, Golberg K. Inhibitory Effects of Artificial Sweeteners on Bacterial Quorum Sensing. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2021; 22(18):9863. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22189863

Chicago/Turabian Style

Markus, Victor, Orr Share, Marilou Shagan, Barak Halpern, Tal Bar, Esti Kramarsky-Winter, Kerem Teralı, Nazmi Özer, Robert S. Marks, Ariel Kushmaro, and Karina Golberg. 2021. "Inhibitory Effects of Artificial Sweeteners on Bacterial Quorum Sensing" International Journal of Molecular Sciences 22, no. 18: 9863. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22189863

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