Towards an Integrative Understanding of tRNA Aminoacylation–Diet–Host–Gut Microbiome Interactions in Neurodegeneration




Paley, Elena L.
Perry, George

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Transgenic mice used for Alzheimer's disease (AD) preclinical experiments do not recapitulate the human disease. In our models, the dietary tryptophan metabolite tryptamine produced by human gut microbiome induces tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase (TrpRS) deficiency with consequent neurodegeneration in cells and mice. Dietary supplements, antibiotics and certain drugs increase tryptamine content in vivo. TrpRS catalyzes tryptophan attachment to tRNAtrp at initial step of protein biosynthesis. Tryptamine that easily crosses the blood–brain barrier induces vasculopathies, neurodegeneration and cell death via TrpRS competitive inhibition. TrpRS inhibitor tryptophanol produced by gut microbiome also induces neurodegeneration. TrpRS inhibition by tryptamine and its metabolites preventing tryptophan incorporation into proteins lead to protein biosynthesis impairment. Tryptophan, a least amino acid in food and proteins that cannot be synthesized by humans competes with frequent amino acids for the transport from blood to brain. Tryptophan is a vulnerable amino acid, which can be easily lost to protein biosynthesis. Some proteins marking neurodegenerative pathology, such as tau lack tryptophan. TrpRS exists in cytoplasmic (WARS) and mitochondrial (WARS2) forms. Pathogenic gene variants of both forms cause TrpRS deficiency with consequent intellectual and motor disabilities in humans. The diminished tryptophan-dependent protein biosynthesis in AD patients is a proof of our model-based disease concept.



tryptophan frequency, tryptamine in diet, protein biosynthesis, tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase deficiency and gene mutations, neurodegeneration, tripeptides, Alzheimer’s disease, gut microbiome, vasculopathies


Nutrients 10 (4): 410 (2018)


Neuroscience, Developmental and Regenerative Biology