“Interplay of Genes and Nutrition in Health” - 6th Internal Meeting

12 Feb, 2014

The 6th Internal Meeting of the RTG 1743 „Genes, Environment and Inflammation“ took place in Kiel on February 5, 2014.

True to the overall motto of the meeting “Interplay of genes and nutrition in health”, two outstanding scientists and experts in the field of “Nutrigenomics” were invited.  Professor Michael Müller, Director of the Food and Health Alliance and Professor of Molecular Nutrition and Nutrigenomics of the Gut, Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, gave a talk on the topic “From Nutrigenomics to Systems Nutrition – Elucidating the role of nutrition in metabolic plasticity and health of the gut”. In a very impressing way he showed how nutrition and with it the challenges for the human body changed over the time from the paleolithic era until today. He explained how nutrition, genes and the microbiota interact and emphasized how important it is not to chronically overload the gut with a high fat diet. Gut Microbiota composition and a wide range of lipid-metabolism related genes in the gut are very sensitive to the fat content of the diet which affects obesity development. He finished his talk with an impressing example of the veracity of the slogan “You are what you eat, have eaten, host and how you lived”, Walter Breuning, who lived 114 years, ate only two meals per day, worked as long as possible and never feared challenges.

In the second talk, Dr. Sascha Sauer, research group leader at the Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Genetics, Berlin, focused on the topic “Dietary natural products for prevention and treatment of age-related and inflammatory diseases”. After having sensitised the audience to the increasing biological complexity, Dr. Sauer went into gene-regulation processes influenced by histone-modifying enzymes such as deacetylases, e.g. sirtuin 1 (Sirt1) or acetyl transferases like p300 and how the natural product resveratrol, known for its health-beneficial and anti-aging effects, impacts on these pathways. He proposed a hormesis model of action of resveratrol, which he substantiated with recent research data. In the end of his talk he introduced the audience to a newly discovered group of natural products, the so-called amorfrutins, which show anti-diabetic potential.

Lively discussions on the two talks were taken further into the coffee break. The last hours of the meeting were reserved for the doctoral researchers of the RTG, who prepared posters on their projects and current results. Every doctoral researcher introduced his poster to the audience – a new challenge for most of them - and they all got constructive criticism from the RTG group members and our external guests.