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The human gut harbors a large and diverse community of commensal bacteria. Among them, Bifidobacterium is known to exhibit various probiotic effects including protection of hosts from infectious diseases. We recently discovered that genes encoding an ATP-binding-cassette-type carbohydrate transporter present in certain bifidobacteria contribute to protecting gnotobiotic mice from death induced by enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7. We elucidated the molecular mechanism on lethal infection in mice associated with several bifidobacterial strains by a multi-omics approach combining genomics, transcriptomics and metabolomics. The combined data clearly show that acetate produced by protective bifidobacteria acts in vivo to promote defense functions of the host epithelial cells and thereby protects the host from lethal infection. As demonstrated here, our multi-omics approach provides a powerful strategy for evaluation of host-microbial interactions in the complex gut ecosystem.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
BifidobacteriumEnhanced Epithelial Cell Defense FunctionsBeneficial
BifidobacteriumReduced Enteropathogenic InfectionBeneficial

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