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Probiotic Protection

Editor’s choice in microbiology

By | July 1, 2011

SCIMAT / PHOTO RESEARCHERS, INC

The paper

S. Fukuda et al., “Bifidobacteria can protect from enteropathogenic infection through production of acetate,” Nature, 469:543-47, 2011. Free F1000 evaluation

The finding

When Hiroshi Ohno’s colleague at RIKEN noticed that some strains of bacteria could protect mice from otherwise lethal infections with the pathogenic E. coli O157:H7 (called O157), Ohno decided to find out why. He found that the protective bacteria expresses a transporter protein that allows it to produce acetate, which inhibits the infected host cell’s uptake of Shiga toxin—responsible for the bloody diarrhea and colitis caused by the 0157 strain.

The observation

Germ-free mice infected with either O157 alone, or O157 together with a strain of Bifidobacterium adolescentis that naturally lacked the transporter protein, died within seven days, but survived if they’d been previously inoculated with protective B. longum, a beneficial gut bacteria that is often added to yogurts. They also found high levels of acetate in the feces of protected mice.

The experiment

To confirm their earlier experiment, they both knocked out the transporter protein gene in a protective strain and introduced it into a nonprotective strain, to show the transporter was necessary and sufficient for protection. Significantly, germ-free mice fed with acetate could also survive O157 infection.

The mechanism

David Cook of the University of Sydney says that rodent toxicology doesn’t always transfer to humans. “You have to be cautious,” he says, “but this is very suggestive.” The mouse colon responds to acetate by turning on a handful of defensive genes, and Ohno says it wouldn’t be surprising if the human gut worked in the same way.

 

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Comments

Avatar of: Ingo

Anonymous

July 12, 2011

Interesting finding, do not know whether that observation was already repeated by others, had no look into the original article whether the authors are related to certain food industries producing those yogurts. If that finding holds true, it would really help in understanding how "good" and bebeficial commensales protect from the bad guys - and it would quite interesting to know whether those people in Germany who were infected by EHEC but did not suffer from a severe diarrhea or even HUS were colonized by acetate-producing bacteria and those who developed severe diseases or even died had another gut flora.

Avatar of: Elvira Moon

Elvira Moon

Posts: 4

July 12, 2011

Might be interesting to replicate this in porcine model.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

July 12, 2011

Interesting finding, do not know whether that observation was already repeated by others, had no look into the original article whether the authors are related to certain food industries producing those yogurts. If that finding holds true, it would really help in understanding how "good" and bebeficial commensales protect from the bad guys - and it would quite interesting to know whether those people in Germany who were infected by EHEC but did not suffer from a severe diarrhea or even HUS were colonized by acetate-producing bacteria and those who developed severe diseases or even died had another gut flora.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

July 12, 2011

Might be interesting to replicate this in porcine model.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

July 12, 2011

Interesting finding, do not know whether that observation was already repeated by others, had no look into the original article whether the authors are related to certain food industries producing those yogurts. If that finding holds true, it would really help in understanding how "good" and bebeficial commensales protect from the bad guys - and it would quite interesting to know whether those people in Germany who were infected by EHEC but did not suffer from a severe diarrhea or even HUS were colonized by acetate-producing bacteria and those who developed severe diseases or even died had another gut flora.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

July 12, 2011

Might be interesting to replicate this in porcine model.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

August 2, 2011

There has been a fair bit of research recently on probiotic action. Very interesting stuff--http://f1000.com/120709... for example.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

August 2, 2011

hmm, that link didn't work for some reason. Try http://f1000.com/12070956

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

August 2, 2011

There has been a fair bit of research recently on probiotic action. Very interesting stuff--http://f1000.com/120709... for example.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

August 2, 2011

hmm, that link didn't work for some reason. Try http://f1000.com/12070956

Avatar of: rpg

rpg

Posts: 3

August 2, 2011

There has been a fair bit of research recently on probiotic action. Very interesting stuff--http://f1000.com/120709... for example.

Avatar of: rpg

rpg

Posts: 3

August 2, 2011

hmm, that link didn't work for some reason. Try http://f1000.com/12070956

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