Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Protective bacteria in the infant gut have resourceful way of helping babies break down breast milk

Date:
August 13, 2012
Source:
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Summary:
Scientists have found that important and resourceful bacteria in the baby microbiome can ferret out nourishment from a previously unknown source, possibly helping at-risk infants break down components of breast milk.

A research team at the University of California, Davis, has found that important and resourceful bacteria in the baby microbiome can ferret out nourishment from a previously unknown source, possibly helping at-risk infants break down components of breast milk.

Breast milk is amazingly intricate, providing all of the nutrients necessary to sustain and strengthen infants in the first months of life. Moreover, this natural source of nutrition provides protection from infections, allergies and many other illnesses.

Breast milk also promotes the growth of protective bacteria in an infant's intestine. Because breast milk contains glycans (complex sugars) that infants cannot breakdown, it promotes the growth a specific type of bacteria, called bifidobacteria, that can process these glycans. While it is known that bifidobacteria avail themselves of the free glycans in breast milk, it was not known whether these bacteria could also obtain glycans that were linked to proteins. Such proteins are called glycoproteins, and they are abundant in breast milk.

The research team led by David A. Mills at the UC-Davis investigated the ability of bifidobacteria to remove glycans from milk glycoproteins. Their work was recently published in the journal Molecular & Cellular Proteomics.

Mills' group found that specific strains of bifidobacteria possessed enzymes capable of removing glycan groups from glycoproteins, enabling them to use these glycans as an additional food source. Surprisingly, one of the enzymes, EndoBI-1, was able to remove any type of N-linked glycan (glycans attached to proteins by the amino acid asparagine). This is unique among enzymes of this type and may provide a growth advantage for bifidobacteria in the infant intestine because the glycoproteins in breast milk have complex glycans attached.

Mills explains that the ability of EndBI-1 to remove a variety of complex N-linked glycans combined with its unusual heat stability make "this potentially a very useful tool in both food processing and proteomics/pharmaceutical research."

The team's work suggests that bifidobacteria do not primarily feed on the glycans from milk glycoproteins. However, the study did show that under the proper conditions bidfidobacteria can grow when protein-linked glycans are the only energy source.

"One obvious goal of this research is to find ways to translate the benefits provided by milk and bifidobacteria to at risk populations such as premature infants, malnourished children, among many others," Mills says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. The original article was written by Danielle Gutierrez. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Daniel Garrido, Charles Nwosu, Santiago Ruiz-Moyano, Danielle Aldredge, J. Bruce German, Carlito B. Lebrilla and David A. Mills. Endo-β-N-acetylglucosaminidases from infant-gut associated bifidobacteria release complex N-glycans from human milk glycoproteins. Molecular & Cellular Proteomics, 2012

Cite This Page:

American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. "Protective bacteria in the infant gut have resourceful way of helping babies break down breast milk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120813130714.htm>.
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. (2012, August 13). Protective bacteria in the infant gut have resourceful way of helping babies break down breast milk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120813130714.htm
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. "Protective bacteria in the infant gut have resourceful way of helping babies break down breast milk." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120813130714.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

AFP (Aug. 21, 2014) Two American missionaries who were sickened with Ebola while working in Liberia and were treated with an experimental drug are doing better and have left the hospital, doctors say on August 21, 2014. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins