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A gut bacterial pathway metabolizes aromatic amino acids into nine circulating metabolites

Overview of attention for article published in Nature, November 2017
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (98th percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (69th percentile)

Mentioned by

1 news outlet
1 blog
296 tweeters
8 Facebook pages
1 Wikipedia page
2 Google+ users
1 Redditor


163 Dimensions

Readers on

541 Mendeley
4 CiteULike
A gut bacterial pathway metabolizes aromatic amino acids into nine circulating metabolites
Published in
Nature, November 2017
DOI 10.1038/nature24661
Pubmed ID

Dylan Dodd, Matthew H. Spitzer, William Van Treuren, Bryan D. Merrill, Andrew J. Hryckowian, Steven K. Higginbottom, Anthony Le, Tina M. Cowan, Garry P. Nolan, Michael A. Fischbach, Justin L. Sonnenburg


The human gut microbiota produces dozens of metabolites that accumulate in the bloodstream, where they can have systemic effects on the host. Although these small molecules commonly reach concentrations similar to those achieved by pharmaceutical agents, remarkably little is known about the microbial metabolic pathways that produce them. Here we use a combination of genetics and metabolic profiling to characterize a pathway from the gut symbiont Clostridium sporogenes that generates aromatic amino acid metabolites. Our results reveal that this pathway produces twelve compounds, nine of which are known to accumulate in host serum. All three aromatic amino acids (tryptophan, phenylalanine and tyrosine) serve as substrates for the pathway, and it involves branching and alternative reductases for specific intermediates. By genetically manipulating C. sporogenes, we modulate serum levels of these metabolites in gnotobiotic mice, and show that in turn this affects intestinal permeability and systemic immunity. This work has the potential to provide the basis of a systematic effort to engineer the molecular output of the gut bacterial community.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 296 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 541 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 541 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 142 26%
Researcher 127 23%
Student > Master 61 11%
Student > Bachelor 41 8%
Professor > Associate Professor 24 4%
Other 77 14%
Unknown 69 13%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 140 26%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 117 22%
Immunology and Microbiology 71 13%
Medicine and Dentistry 39 7%
Chemistry 32 6%
Other 55 10%
Unknown 87 16%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 177. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 24 October 2019.
All research outputs
of 15,096,771 outputs
Outputs from Nature
of 73,722 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 406,811 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Nature
of 840 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 15,096,771 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 73,722 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 82.7. This one has done well, scoring higher than 88% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 406,811 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 98% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 840 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 69% of its contemporaries.