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      Maternal fucosyltransferase 2 status affects the gut bifidobacterial communities of breastfed infants

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          Individuals with inactive alleles of the fucosyltransferase 2 gene (FUT2; termed the ‘secretor’ gene) are common in many populations. Some members of the genus Bifidobacterium, common infant gut commensals, are known to consume 2′-fucosylated glycans found in the breast milk of secretor mothers. We investigated the effects of maternal secretor status on the developing infant microbiota with a special emphasis on bifidobacterial species abundance.


          On average, bifidobacteria were established earlier and more often in infants fed by secretor mothers than in infants fed by non-secretor mothers. In secretor-fed infants, the relative abundance of the Bifidobacterium longum group was most strongly correlated with high percentages of the order Bifidobacteriales. Conversely, in non-secretor-fed infants, Bifidobacterium breve was positively correlated with Bifidobacteriales, while the B. longum group was negatively correlated. A higher percentage of bifidobacteria isolated from secretor-fed infants consumed 2′-fucosyllactose. Infant feces with high levels of bifidobacteria had lower milk oligosaccharide levels in the feces and higher amounts of lactate. Furthermore, feces containing different bifidobacterial species possessed differing amounts of oligosaccharides, suggesting differential consumption in situ.


          Infants fed by non-secretor mothers are delayed in the establishment of a bifidobacteria-laden microbiota. This delay may be due to difficulties in the infant acquiring a species of bifidobacteria able to consume the specific milk oligosaccharides delivered by the mother. This work provides mechanistic insight into how milk glycans enrich specific beneficial bacterial populations in infants and reveals clues for enhancing enrichment of bifidobacterial populations in at risk populations - such as premature infants.

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          The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s40168-015-0071-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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          Cross-biome metagenomic analyses of soil microbial communities and their functional attributes.

          For centuries ecologists have studied how the diversity and functional traits of plant and animal communities vary across biomes. In contrast, we have only just begun exploring similar questions for soil microbial communities despite soil microbes being the dominant engines of biogeochemical cycles and a major pool of living biomass in terrestrial ecosystems. We used metagenomic sequencing to compare the composition and functional attributes of 16 soil microbial communities collected from cold deserts, hot deserts, forests, grasslands, and tundra. Those communities found in plant-free cold desert soils typically had the lowest levels of functional diversity (diversity of protein-coding gene categories) and the lowest levels of phylogenetic and taxonomic diversity. Across all soils, functional beta diversity was strongly correlated with taxonomic and phylogenetic beta diversity; the desert microbial communities were clearly distinct from the nondesert communities regardless of the metric used. The desert communities had higher relative abundances of genes associated with osmoregulation and dormancy, but lower relative abundances of genes associated with nutrient cycling and the catabolism of plant-derived organic compounds. Antibiotic resistance genes were consistently threefold less abundant in the desert soils than in the nondesert soils, suggesting that abiotic conditions, not competitive interactions, are more important in shaping the desert microbial communities. As the most comprehensive survey of soil taxonomic, phylogenetic, and functional diversity to date, this study demonstrates that metagenomic approaches can be used to build a predictive understanding of how microbial diversity and function vary across terrestrial biomes.
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            The genome sequence of Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis reveals adaptations for milk utilization within the infant microbiome.

            Following birth, the breast-fed infant gastrointestinal tract is rapidly colonized by a microbial consortium often dominated by bifidobacteria. Accordingly, the complete genome sequence of Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis ATCC15697 reflects a competitive nutrient-utilization strategy targeting milk-borne molecules which lack a nutritive value to the neonate. Several chromosomal loci reflect potential adaptation to the infant host including a 43 kbp cluster encoding catabolic genes, extracellular solute binding proteins and permeases predicted to be active on milk oligosaccharides. An examination of in vivo metabolism has detected the hallmarks of milk oligosaccharide utilization via the central fermentative pathway using metabolomic and proteomic approaches. Finally, conservation of gene clusters in multiple isolates corroborates the genomic mechanism underlying milk utilization for this infant-associated phylotype.
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              The bacterial biogeography of British soils.

              Despite recognition of the importance of soil bacteria to terrestrial ecosystem functioning there is little consensus on the factors regulating belowground biodiversity. Here we present a multi-scale spatial assessment of soil bacterial community profiles across Great Britain (> 1000 soil cores), and show the first landscape scale map of bacterial distributions across a nation. Bacterial diversity and community dissimilarities, assessed using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism, were most strongly related to soil pH providing a large-scale confirmation of the role of pH in structuring bacterial taxa. However, while α diversity was positively related to pH, the converse was true for β diversity (between sample variance in α diversity). β diversity was found to be greatest in acidic soils, corresponding with greater environmental heterogeneity. Analyses of clone libraries revealed the pH effects were predominantly manifest at the level of broad bacterial taxonomic groups, with acidic soils being dominated by few taxa (notably the group 1 Acidobacteria and Alphaproteobacteria). We also noted significant correlations between bacterial communities and most other measured environmental variables (soil chemistry, aboveground features and climatic variables), together with significant spatial correlations at close distances. In particular, bacterial and plant communities were closely related signifying no strong evidence that soil bacteria are driven by different ecological processes to those governing higher organisms. We conclude that broad scale surveys are useful in identifying distinct soil biomes comprising reproducible communities of dominant taxa. Together these results provide a baseline ecological framework with which to pursue future research on both soil microbial function, and more explicit biome based assessments of the local ecological drivers of bacterial biodiversity. © 2011 Society for Applied Microbiology and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

                Author and article information

                BioMed Central (London )
                10 April 2015
                10 April 2015
                : 3
                [ ]Department of Food Science and Technology, UC Davis, 1 Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616 USA
                [ ]Department of Chemistry, UC Davis, 1 Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616 USA
                [ ]Department of Viticulture and Enology, UC Davis, 1 Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616 USA
                [ ]Foods For Health Institute, UC Davis, 1 Peter J Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616 USA
                [ ]Department of Life Sciences, PhD School in Science and Technologies for Health Products, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Via Università, 4, Modena, MO 41100 Italy
                [ ]Genome Center, UC Davis, 1 Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616 USA
                [ ]Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, University Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana, IL 61801 USA
                © Lewis et al.; licensee BioMed Central. 2015

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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