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Gut microbiota have been shown to promote oogenesis and fecundity, but the mechanistic basis of remote influence on oogenesis remained unknown. Here, we report a systemic mechanism of influence mediated by bacterial-derived supply of mitochondrial coenzymes. Removal of microbiota decreased mitochondrial activity and ATP levels in the whole-body and ovary, resulting in repressed oogenesis. Similar repression was caused by RNA-based knockdown of mitochondrial function in ovarian follicle cells. Reduced mitochondrial function in germ-free (GF) females was reversed by bacterial recolonization or supplementation of riboflavin, a precursor of FAD and FMN. Metabolomics analysis of GF females revealed a decrease in oxidative phosphorylation and FAD levels and an increase in metabolites that are degraded by FAD-dependent enzymes (e.g., amino and fatty acids). Riboflavin supplementation opposed this effect, elevating mitochondrial function, ATP, and oogenesis. These findings uncover a bacterial-mitochondrial axis of influence, linking gut bacteria with systemic regulation of host energy and reproduction.
Yulia Gnainsky,Nofar Zfanya,Michael Elgart,Eman Omri,Alexander Brandis,Tevie Mehlman,Maxim Itkin,Sergey Malitsky,Jerzy Adamski,Yoav Soen