The quality of the colon mucus in mice depends on the composition of gut microbiota, reports a Swedish-Norwegian team of researchers from the University of Gothenburg and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in Oslo. The work, published in EMBO reports, suggests that bacteria in the gut affect mucus barrier properties in ways that can have implications for health and disease.
“Genetically similar mice with subtle but stable and transmissible intestinal microbiota showed unexpectedly large differences in the inner colon mucus layer. The composition of the gut microbiota has significant effects on mucus properties,” says Malin E.V. Johansson from the University of Gothenburg who led the study.
By sequencing the microbiota and examining the 16S ribosomal RNA genes, the researchers discovered that two mouse colonies maintained in two different rooms in the same specific pathogen-free facility had different gut microbiota. They also had a mucus structure that was specific for each colony. Whereas one colony developed mucus that was not penetrable to bacteria, the other colony had an inner mucus layer permeable to bacteria.
Each group of mice had a stable population of bacteria that could be maternally transmitted: The group with impenetrable mucus had increased amounts of Erysipelotrichi bacteria, while the other group had higher levels of Proteobacteria and TM7 bacteria in the distal colon mucus. Free-living mice from the forest had mucus similar in composition to that found in mice in the non-penetrable colony. The authors also showed that the bacterial composition could be modulated to a small extent through the diet.
“The results from the free-living mice strongly argue for the importance of a well-developed inner mucus layer that efficiently separates bacteria from the host epithelium for the overall health of the mice,” says Johansson.
The different mucus properties were recreated by transplanting the microbial communities into germ-free mice. “After recolonisation of germ-free mice with the different microbiota we observed the same structural and functional differences in their mucus properties,” added Johansson.
Mucus is our outermost barrier to our microbiota in the gut. If the mucus fails to offer a protective barrier it can allow more bacteria to come in contact with our epithelium in a way that can trigger colon inflammation. Diseases such as ulcerative colitis show an increased incidence in the Western world and this study emphasizes the importance of the composition of the microbiota for an impenetrable protective mucus barrier.
The gut microbiota composition impairs the colon inner mucus layer barrier
Hedvig E Jakobsson, Ana M Rodríguez-Piñeiro, André Schütte, Anna Ermund, Preben Boysen, Mats Bemark, Felix Sommer, Fredrik Bäckhed, Gunnar C Hansson, and Malin E V Johansson.
Read the paper: doi: 10.15252/embr.201439263
Further information on EMBO reports is available at www.embor.embopress.org
Editor, EMBO reports
Tel: +49 6221 8891 305
Yvonne Kaul | EMBO
Molecular microscopy illuminates molecular motor motion
26.07.2017 | Penn State
New virus discovered in migratory bird in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
26.07.2017 | Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo
Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers
Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...
Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.
At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...
3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects
A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.
To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...
26.07.2017 | Event News
21.07.2017 | Event News
19.07.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
26.07.2017 | Life Sciences
26.07.2017 | Earth Sciences