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- ItemThe infant gut microbiome as a microbial organ influencing host well-being(Springer Nature, 2020-02) Turroni, Francesca; Milani, Christian; Duranti, Sabrina; Lugli, Gabriele A.; Bernasconi, Sergio; Margolles, Abelardo; Di Pierro, Francesco; van Sinderen, Douwe; Ventura, Marco; Horizon 2020 Framework Programme; Science Foundation Ireland; Fondazione CariparmaInitial establishment of the human gut microbiota is generally believed to occur immediately following birth, involving key gut commensals such as bifidobacteria that are acquired from the mother. The subsequent development of this early gut microbiota is driven and modulated by specific dietary compounds present in human milk that support selective colonization. This represents a very intriguing example of host-microbe co-evolution, where both partners are believed to benefit. In recent years, various publications have focused on dissecting microbial infant gut communities and their interaction with their human host, being a determining factor in host physiology and metabolic activities. Such studies have highlighted a reduction of microbial diversity and/or an aberrant microbiota composition, sometimes referred to as dysbiosis, which may manifest itself during the early stage of life, i.e., in infants, or later stages of life. There are growing experimental data that may explain how the early human gut microbiota affects risk factors related to adult health conditions. This concept has fueled the development of various nutritional strategies, many of which are based on probiotics and/or prebiotics, to shape the infant microbiota. In this review, we will present the current state of the art regarding the infant gut microbiota and the role of key commensal microorganisms like bifidobacteria in the establishment of the first microbial communities in the human gut.
- ItemHuman milk oligosaccharide-sharing by a consortium of infant derived Bifidobacterium species(Nature Research, 2022-03) Walsh, Clodagh; Lane, Jonathan A.; van Sinderen, Douwe; Hickey, Rita M.; H and H Group; Science Foundation IrelandBifidobacteria are associated with a host of health benefits and are typically dominant in the gut microbiota of healthy, breast-fed infants. A key adaptation, facilitating the establishment of these species, is their ability to consume particular sugars, known as human milk oligosaccharides (HMO), which are abundantly found in breastmilk. In the current study, we aimed to characterise the co-operative metabolism of four commercial infant-derived bifidobacteria (Bifidobacterium bifidum R0071, Bifidobacterium breve M-16V, Bifidobacterium infantis R0033, and Bifidobacterium infantis M-63) when grown on HMO. Three different HMO substrates (2 '-fucosyllactose alone and oligosaccharides isolated from human milk representing non-secretor and secretor status) were employed. The four-strain combination resulted in increased bifidobacterial numbers (> 21%) in comparison to single strain cultivation. The relative abundance of B. breve increased by > 30% during co-cultivation with the other strains despite demonstrating limited ability to assimilate HMO in mono-culture. HPLC analysis revealed strain-level variations in HMO consumption. Metabolomics confirmed the production of formate, acetate, 1,2-propanediol, and lactate with an overall increase in such metabolites during co-cultivation. These results support the concept of positive co-operation between multiple bifidobacterial strains during HMO utilisation which may result in higher cell numbers and a potentially healthier balance of metabolites.
- ItemExploring structural diversity among adhesion devices encoded by lactococcal P335 phages with AlphaFold2(MDPI, 2022-11) Goulet, Adeline; Mahony, Jennifer; Cambillau, Christian; van Sinderen, Douwe; Science Foundation IrelandBacteriophages, or phages, are the most abundant biological entities on Earth. They possess molecular nanodevices to package and store their genome, as well as to introduce it into the cytoplasm of their bacterial prey. Successful phage infection commences with specific recognition of, and adhesion to, a suitable host cell surface. Adhesion devices of siphophages infecting Gram-positive bacteria are very diverse and remain, for the majority, poorly understood. These assemblies often comprise long, flexible, and multi-domain proteins, which limit their structural analyses by experimental approaches. The protein structure prediction program AlphaFold2 is exquisitely adapted to unveil structural and functional details of such molecular machineries. Here, we present structure predictions of adhesion devices from siphophages belonging to the P335 group infecting Lactococcus spp., one of the most extensively applied lactic acid bacteria in dairy fermentations. The predictions of representative adhesion devices from types I-IV P335 phages illustrate their very diverse topology. Adhesion devices from types III and IV phages share a common topology with that of Skunavirus p2, with a receptor binding protein anchored to the virion by a distal tail protein loop. This suggests that they exhibit an activation mechanism similar to that of phage p2 prior to host binding.
- ItemBroad purpose vector for site-directed insertional mutagenesis in Bifidobacterium breve(Frontiers Media S.A., 2021-03) Hoedt, Emily C.; Bottacini, Francesca; Cash, Nora; Bongers, Roger S.; van Limpt, Kees; Ben Amor, Kaouther; Knol, Jan; MacSharry, John; van Sinderen, Douwe; Nutricia Research Foundation; Science Foundation Ireland; Federation of European Microbiological SocietiesMembers of the genus Bifidobacterium are notoriously recalcitrant to genetic manipulation due to their extensive and variable repertoire of Restriction-Modification (R-M) systems. Non-replicating plasmids are currently employed to achieve insertional mutagenesis in Bifidobacterium. One of the limitations of using such insertion vectors is the presence within their sequence of various restriction sites, making them sensitive to the activity of endogenous restriction endonucleases encoded by the target strain. For this reason, vectors have been developed with the aim of methylating and protecting the vector using a methylase-positive Escherichia coli strain, in some cases containing a cloned bifidobacterial methylase. Here, we present a mutagenesis approach based on a modified and synthetically produced version of the suicide vector pORI28 (named pFREM28), where all known restriction sites targeted by Bifidobacterium breve R-M systems were removed by base substitution (thus preserving the codon usage). After validating the integrity of the erythromycin marker, the vector was successfully employed to target an alpha-galactosidase gene responsible for raffinose metabolism, an alcohol dehydrogenase gene responsible for mannitol utilization and a gene encoding a priming glycosyltransferase responsible for exopolysaccharides (EPS) production in B. breve. The advantage of using this modified approach is the reduction of the amount of time, effort and resources required to generate site-directed mutants in B. breve and a similar approach may be employed to target other (bifido)bacterial species.
- ItemA programmable Ethernet transport Packetponder using common compact form factor pluggable tunable transceivers to support novel DWDM architectures(IEEE, 2023-03-07) Raulin, Julie; Davey, Gawen; Verbishchuk, Yulia; Sreenan, Cormac J.; Gunning, Fatima C. Gunnning; Science Foundation IrelandWe introduce a packetponder comprising a programmable packet switch with P4 ASIC containing a mixture of “grey” and tunable DWDM pluggable transceivers that, combined with ROADMs, introduces novel possibilities for Ethernet transport architectures.