16 January 2019
Vol 11, Issue 475

About The Cover

Cover image expansion

ONLINE COVER Playing Hoops with E. coli DNA. The image depicts a genetically modified Escherichia coli bacterium. By modifying genes involved in arginine metabolism, Kurtz et al.. created an E. coli probiotic Nissle strain capable of consuming excess gut ammonia by synthesizing surplus arginine. The engineered bacterial strain lowered blood ammonia and increased survival in mouse models of liver injury. Administration of the strain to healthy volunteers demonstrated that it was safe. These results suggest the potential of this modified E. coli strain to treat metabolic disorders that result in dangerously elevated blood ammonia concentrations. [CREDIT: VERGE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNICATIONS, FALCONIERI VISUALS]