"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!
Researchers uncover protein-based “cancer signature”
05.12.2016 | Universität Basel
The Nagoya Protocol Creates Disadvantages for Many Countries when Applied to Microorganisms
05.12.2016 | Leibniz-Institut DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering