[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Strains of Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium breve, and Bifidobacterium animalis are widely used as probiotics in the food industry. Although numerous studies have revealed the properties and functionality of these strains, it is uncertain whether these characteristics are species common or strain specific. To address this issue, we performed a comparative genomic analysis of 49 strains belonging to these three bifidobacterial species to describe their genetic diversity and to evaluate species-level differences. There were 166 common clusters between strains of B. breve and B. longum, whereas there were nine common clusters between strains of B. animalis and B. longum and four common clusters between strains of B. animalis and B. breve.
Further analysis focused on carbohydrate metabolism revealed the existence of certain strain-dependent genes, such as those encoding enzymes for host glycan utilisation or certain membrane transporters, and many genes commonly distributed at the species level, as was previously reported in studies with limited strains. As B. longum and B. breve are human-residential bifidobacteria (HRB), whereas B. animalis is a non-HRB species, several of the differences in these species’ gene distributions might be the result of their adaptations to the nutrient environment. This information may aid both in selecting probiotic candidates and in understanding their potential function as probiotics.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Enterotoxigenic Bacteroides fragilis (ETBF) strains have been suggested to be associated with acute and persistent diarrheal disease, inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer, although further epidemiological studies are needed for clarification. Here, a pilot study was performed to examine the effect of the oral administration of yogurt supplemented with a probiotic strain on the cell numbers of fecal ETBF in a healthy population. Among 420 healthy adults, 38 subjects were found to be ETBF carriers, giving a prevalence of approximately 9%. Among them, 32 subjects were enrolled in an open, randomized, parallel-group study to ingest yogurt supplemented with a probiotic strain, Bifidobacterium longum BB536 (BB536Y group), for 8 weeks, with milk provided to the control group (milk group). The cell numbers of ETBF and the dominant species of the B. fragilis group were measured by a quantitative PCR method. Compared with the baseline values, there was a significant decrease in the cell number of ETBF at week 8 in the BB536Y group but not in the milk group. Linear mixed models analysis for longitudinal data revealed a significant difference in the changes of ETBF cell number between the two groups during the intervention phase. These results imply the potential of probiotic yogurt for eliminating ETBF in the microbiota, but its clinical significance needs to be evaluated in the future. This is the first report of a possible effect of probiotic intake on ETBF in the microbiota.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A Lactococcus lactis subspecies-specific primer was designed based on their repetitive genome sequences. This primer enabled L. lactis subspecies to be identified simultaneously at both the species level and also the strain level. Based on studies using 70 strains of L. lactis and 60 strains of other non-target bacteria, the identification completely matched that obtained by the sequence of the 16S rRNA gene. However, inconsistency between phenotypic and genotypic characteristics was observed in some strains isolated from milk.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the anti-obesity activity of a probiotic bifidobacterial strain in a mouse model with obesity induced by a high-fat diet. The mice were fed a high-fat diet supplemented with Bifidobacterium breve B-3 at 10(8) or 10(9) CFU/d for 8 weeks. B. breve B-3 supplementation dose-dependently suppressed the accumulation of body weight and epididymal fat, and improved the serum levels of total cholesterol, fasting glucose and insulin. The bifidobacterial counts in the caecal contents and feces were significantly increased with the B. breve B-3 administration. The expression of genes related to fat metabolism and insulin sensitivity in the gut and epididymal fat tissue was up-regulated by this administration. These results suggest that the use of B. breve B-3 would be effective in reducing the risk of obesity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A two-component system (TCS) comprising a histidine kinase (HK) sensor and a response regulator (RR) plays important roles in regulating the virulence of many pathogenic bacteria. We used a new screening method to isolate novel inhibitor Art1 against bacterial sensory HK from an acetone extract of solid cultures of Articulospora sp., an aquatic hypomycete. Art1 inhibited the ATP-dependent autophosphorylation of recombinant glutathione S-transferase-fusion protein SasA, a cyanobacterial HK, with an IC50 value of 9.5 microg/ml.