Gut microbiota and its metabolites like short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are linked with pathology of Alzheimer’s disease (AD)- a debilitating public health problem in older adults. However, strategies to beneficially modulate gut microbiota and its sensing signaling pathways remain largely unknown. Here, we screened, validated and established the agonists of free fatty acid receptor 2 (FFAR2) signaling, which senses beneficial signals from SCFAs produced by microbiota in the gut. We demonstrated that inhibition of FFAR2 signaling increases amyloid-beta (Aβ) stimulated neuronal toxicity. Thus, we screened FFAR2 agonists, using in-silico library of more than 144,000 natural compounds, and 15 compounds were selected based on binding with FFAR2 agonist sites. Further, cell culture toxicity and FFAR2 stimulatory experiments demonstrated that Fenchol (a natural compound commonly present in basil) was potent FFAR2 agonist in neuronal cells. Interestingly, we also demonstrated that Fenchol protects Aβ-stimulated neurodegeneration in FFAR2 dependent manner. In addition, Fenchol reduced AD like phenotypes such as Aβ-accumulation and, learning and memory behaviors in Caenorhabditis (C.) elegans. Fenchol increased Aβ-clearance by increasing proteasome/lysosome activity and reduced senescence in neuronal cells. These results demonstrated that the inhibition of FFAR2 signaling promotes Aβ-induced neurodegeneration, while activating it by Fenchol as a natural agonist reverse it by promoting Aβ-clearance and reducing cellular senescence; thus stimulation of FFAR2 signaling can be a therapeutic approach to prevent/ treat AD.
Free fatty acid receptor 2; microbiota; metabolite; sensor; G-coupled protein receptor; signaling; Alzheimer’s disease; senescence; C. elegans
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