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  • Ottman, Noora; Geerlings, Sharon Y.; Aalvink, Steven; de Vos, Willem M.; Belzer, Clara (2017)
    The discovery of Akkermansia muciniphila has opened new avenues for the use of this abundant intestinal symbiont in next generation therapeutic products, as well as targeting microbiota dynamics. A. muciniphila is known to colonize the mucosal layer of the human intestine where it triggers both host metabolic and immune responses. A. muciniphila is particularly effective in increasing mucus thickness and increasing gut barrier function. As a result host metabolic markers ameliorate. The mechanism of host regulation is thought to involve the outer membrane composition, including the type IV pili of A. muciniphila, that directly signal to host immune receptors. At the same time the metabolic activity of A. muciniphila leads to the production of short chain fatty acids that are beneficial to the host and microbiota members. This contributes to host-microbiota and microbe-microbe syntrophy The mucolytic activity and metabolite production make A. muciniphila a key species in the mucus layer, stimulating beneficial mucosal microbial networks. This well studied member of the microbiota has been studied in three aspects that will be further described in this review: i) A. muciniphila characteristics and mucin adaptation, ii) its role as key species in the mucosal microbiome, and iii) its role in host health. (C) 2017 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
  • Jalanka, Jonna; Cheng, Jing; Hiippala, Kaisa; Ritari, Jarmo; Salojärvi, Jarkko; Ruuska, Tarja; Kalliomaki, Marko; Satokari, Reetta (2020)
    Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease (CD), are chronic debilitating disorders of unknown etiology. Over 200 genetic risk loci are associated with IBD, highlighting a key role for immunological and epithelial barrier functions. Environmental factors account for the growing incidence of IBD, and microbiota are considered as an important contributor. Microbiota dysbiosis can lead to a loss of tolerogenic immune effects and initiate or exacerbate inflammation. We aimed to study colonic mucosal microbiota and the expression of selected host genes in pediatric UC. We used high-throughput 16S rDNA sequencing to profile microbiota in colonic biopsies of pediatric UC patients (n= 26) and non-IBD controls (n= 27). The expression of 13 genes, including five for antimicrobial peptides, in parallel biopsies was assessed with qRT-PCR. The composition of microbiota between UC and non-IBD differed significantly (PCoA,p= 0.001). UC children had a decrease in Bacteroidetes and an increase in several family-level taxa including Peptostreptococcaceae and Enterobacteriaceae, which correlated negatively with the expression of antimicrobial peptides REG3G and DEFB1, respectively. Enterobacteriaceae correlated positively with the expression siderophore binding protein LCN2 and Betaproteobacteria negatively with DEFB4A expression. The results indicate that reciprocal interaction of epithelial microbiota and defense mechanisms play a role in UC.
  • Tailford, Louise E.; Owen, C. David; Walshaw, John; Crost, Emmanuelle H.; Hardy-Goddard, Jemma; Le Gall, Gwenaelle; de Vos, Willem M.; Taylor, Garry L.; Juge, Nathalie (2015)
    The gastrointestinal mucus layer is colonized by a dense community of microbes catabolizing dietary and host carbohydrates during their expansion in the gut. Alterations in mucosal carbohydrate availability impact on the composition of microbial species. Ruminococcus gnavus is a commensal anaerobe present in the gastrointestinal tract of > 90% of humans and overrepresented in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Using a combination of genomics, enzymology and crystallography, we show that the mucin-degrader R. gnavus ATCC 29149 strain produces an intramolecular trans-sialidase (IT-sialidase) that cleaves off terminal alpha 2-3-linked sialic acid from glycoproteins, releasing 2,7-anhydro-Neu5Ac instead of sialic acid. Evidence of IT-sialidases in human metagenomes indicates that this enzyme occurs in healthy subjects but is more prevalent in IBD metagenomes. Our results uncover a previously unrecognized enzymatic activity in the gut microbiota, which may contribute to the adaptation of intestinal bacteria to the mucosal environment in health and disease.