"We identified, to our knowledge, the first bifidobacterial strain, Bifidobacterium dentium, that is capable of secreting large amounts of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This molecule is a major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central and enteric nervous systems," says Karina Pokusaeva, a researcher on the study and a member of the laboratory of James Versalovic.
GABA is one of the chief inhibitory neurotransmitters in the human central nervous system. It plays a role in regulating pain and some pain relieving drugs currently on the market act by targeting GABA receptors on neural cells.
Pokusaeva and her colleagues were interested in understanding the role the human microbiome might play in pain and scanned the genomes of potentially beneficial intestinal microorganisms, identified by the Human Microbiome Project, for evidence of a gene that would allow them to create GABA.
"Lab analysis of metagenomic DNA sequencing data allowed us to demonstrate that microbial glutamate decarboxylase encoding gene is very abundant in intestinal microbiota as compared to other body sites," says Pokusaeva. One of the most prolific producers of GABA was B. dentium, which appears to secrete the compound to help it survive the acid environment.
In addition to its pain modulating properties, GABA may also be capable of inhibiting inflammation. Recent studies have shown that immune cells called macrophages also possess GABA receptors. When these receptors were activated on the macrophages there was a decrease in the production of compounds responsible for inflammation.
"Our lab was curious to explore if GABA produced by intestinal human isolate B. dentium could have an effect on GABA receptors present in immune cells," says Pokusaeva. Together with their collaborators Dr. Yamada and Dr. Lacorazza they found that when the cells were exposed to secretions from the bacteria, they exhibited increased expression of the GABAA receptor in the immune cells.
"Our preliminary findings suggest that Bifidobacterium dentium could potentially have an inhibitory role in inflammation; however more research has to be performed to further prove our hypothesis," says Pokusaeva.
Dr. Pokusaeva will participate in a live webcast media availability to discuss her research on Sunday, June 17, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. EDT. The webcast can be found online at www.microbeworld.org/asmlive.
This research was presented as part of the 2012 General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology held June 16-19, 2012 in San Francisco, California. A full press kit for the meeting, including tipsheets and additional press releases, can be found online at http://bit.ly/asm2012pk.
The American Society for Microbiology is the largest single life science society, composed of over 39,000 scientists and health professionals. ASM's mission is to advance the microbiological sciences as a vehicle for understanding life processes and to apply and communicate this knowledge for the improvement of health and environmental and economic well-being worldwide.
Dead cells disrupt how immune cells respond to wounds and patrol for infection
21.05.2019 | University of Sheffield
New study shows: Tropical corals reflect ocean acidification
21.05.2019 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung (ZMT)
Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...
With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.
Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...
'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.
However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...
Working group led by physicist Professor Ulrich Nowak at the University of Konstanz, in collaboration with a team of physicists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, demonstrates how skyrmions can be used for the computer concepts of the future
When it comes to performing a calculation destined to arrive at an exact result, humans are hopelessly inferior to the computer. In other areas, humans are...
Scientists develop a molecular recording tool that enables in vivo lineage tracing of embryonic cells
The beginning of new life starts with a fascinating process: A single cell gives rise to progenitor cells that eventually differentiate into the three germ...
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
22.05.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering
21.05.2019 | Materials Sciences
21.05.2019 | Materials Sciences