Uncovering the Surprising Mechanism of How Intestinal Microbiome Protects Against Pathogens: Insights from the Latest Research in Science

2023-12-14 19:00:00

One of the most important functions of the microorganisms in our intestines is to protect us from pathogens. But how the community of bacteria, archaea and fungi accomplishes this is still largely unclear. The microbiome is so diverse and complex that individual interactions between organisms are extremely difficult to research. However, it is now becoming apparent that it is precisely this diversity that keeps pathogens away – through a surprisingly simple mechanism. As a team led by Frances Spragge from the University of Oxford reports, communities of microbes keep harmful bacterial species away by consuming the nutrients they need to grow.

In her now publication published in the journal “Science”. The experts show that a community of bacteria causes pathogens Klebsiella pneumoniae and Salmonella Typhimurium The more metabolic pathways the microbiome has in common with them, the more effectively they are kept in check. This overlap means that all the nutrients the pathogens need are already claimed by other members of the community. This mechanism alone is sufficient to predict how a bacterial community must be composed in order to effectively contain a given pathogen.

The working group used artificial cell cultures to investigate how well the pathogens penetrate existing communities with different numbers of members. It turned out that the most famous of all intestinal bacteria, Escherichia coli, plays a very crucial role. If it is present, the more members the community has, the more the intruders will be contained. If it is missing, the effect is significantly weaker. Why this is so is unclear. The team also found the same effect in experiments on mice with a precisely controlled intestinal microbiome – with the difference that a very diverse microbiome in real living creatures seems to be even more important for protection against pathogens.

#Microbiome #Diversity #intestine #pathogens

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