• Analysis of the role of the Cronobacter sakazakii ProP homologues in osmotolerance

      Feeney, Audrey; Johnston, Christopher D; Govender, Rodney; O’Mahony, Jim; Coffey, Aidan; Sleator, Roy D (2014-05-24)
      Abstract Bacteria respond to elevated osmolality by the accumulation of a range of low molecular weight molecules, known as compatible solutes (owing to their compatibility with the cells' normal physiology at high internal concentrations). The neonatal pathogen Cronobacter sakazakii is uniquely osmotolerant, surviving in powdered infant formula (PIF) which typically has a water activity (aw) of 0.2 – inhospitable to most micro-organisms. Mortality rates of up to 80% in infected infants have been recorded making C. sakazakii a serious cause for concern. In silico analysis of the C. sakazakii BAA-894 genome revealed seven copies of the osmolyte uptake system ProP. Herein, we test the physiological role of each of these homologues following heterologous expression against an osmosensitive Escherichia coli host.
    • Diversity, ecology and intestinal function of bifidobacteria

      Bottacini, Francesca; Ventura, Marco; Sinderen, Douwe; Motherway, Mary OC (2014-08-29)
      Abstract The human gastrointestinal tract represents an environment which is a densely populated home for a microbiota that has evolved to positively contribute to host health. At birth the essentially sterile gastrointestinal tract (GIT) is rapidly colonized by microorganisms that originate from the mother and the surrounding environment. Within a short timeframe a microbiota establishes within the (breastfed) infant's GIT where bifidobacteria are among the dominant members, although their numerical dominance disappears following weaning. The numerous health benefits associated with bifidobacteria, and the consequent commercial relevance resulting from their incorporation into functional foods, has led to intensified research aimed at the molecular understanding of claimed probiotic attributes of this genus. In this review we provide the current status on the diversity and ecology of bifidobacteria. In addition, we will discuss the molecular mechanisms that allow this intriguing group of bacteria to colonize and persist in the GIT, so as to facilitate interaction with its host.
    • Effect of room temperature transport vials on DNA quality and phylogenetic composition of faecal microbiota of elderly adults and infants.

      Hill, Cian J; Brown, Jillian R M; Lynch, Denise B; Jeffery, Ian B; Ryan, C Anthony; Ross, R Paul; Stanton, Catherine; O'Toole, Paul W (Microbiome, 2016-05)
      Alterations in intestinal microbiota have been correlated with a growing number of diseases. Investigating the faecal microbiota is widely used as a non-invasive and ethically simple proxy for intestinal biopsies. There is an urgent need for collection and transport media that would allow faecal sampling at distance from the processing laboratory, obviating the need for same-day DNA extraction recommended by previous studies of freezing and processing methods for stool. We compared the faecal bacterial DNA quality and apparent phylogenetic composition derived using a commercial kit for stool storage and transport (DNA Genotek OMNIgene GUT) with that of freshly extracted samples, 22 from infants and 20 from older adults.