"Probiotics need to interact with cells lining the gut to have a beneficial effect, and if they attach to surfaces in the gut they are more likely to stick around long enough to exert their activity," says Dr Nathalie Juge from the Institute of Food Research. IFR is an Institute of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, which funded the research.
The gut is the largest immune system organ in the body. The cells lining the gut are covered in a protective layer of mucus that is continuously renewed by specialised cells. As well as protecting the gut lining, mucus provides an attachment site for beneficial bacteria that help maintain normal gut function.
Mucus adhesion has been well studied for pathogenic bacteria, but precisely what enables commensal (our gut bacteria) bacteria to stick is not known. In a paper published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, IFR and University of East Anglia scientists have obtained the first crystal structure of a mucus-binding protein.
The protein was obtained from a strain of Lactobacillus reuteri, a lactic acid bacterium naturally found in the gastrointestinal tract. Lactic acid bacteria are the most common microorganisms used as probiotics.
These mucus-binding proteins are more abundant in lactic acid bacteria than other types and particularly in strains that inhabit the gut. The presence of the proteins may contribute to the ability of lactic acid bacteria to interact with the host.
The team of scientists found that these mucus-binding proteins also recognise human immunoglobulin proteins. These are an integral part of the immune system. Mucus-binding proteins may therefore also play a wider role in gut health as a site of attachment for bacteria.
"The strain-specificity of these proteins demonstrates the need for the careful molecular design and selection of probiotics," says Dr Juge. "This also opens new avenues of research to study the fundamental roles bacteria play in the gastrointestinal tract."
Andrew Chapple | EurekAlert!
Gene therapy shows promise for treating Niemann-Pick disease type C1
27.10.2016 | NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute
'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape
27.10.2016 | International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA)
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences
27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
27.10.2016 | Life Sciences