Bacterial cell surface molecules are at the forefront of host-bacterium interactions. Teichoic acids are observed only in Gram-positive bacteria, and they are one of the main cell surface components. Teichoic acids play important physiological roles and contribute to the bacterial interaction with their host. In particular, lipoteichoic acid (LTA) anchored to the cell membrane has attracted attention as a host immunomodulator. Chemical and biological characteristics of LTA from various bacteria have been described. However, most of the information concerns pathogenic bacteria, and information on beneficial bacteria, including probiotic lactic acid bacteria, is insufficient. LTA is structurally diverse. Strain-level structural diversity of LTA is suggested to underpin its immunomodulatory activities. Thus, the structural information on LTA in probiotics, in particular strain-associated diversity, is important for understanding its beneficial roles associated with the modulation of immune response. Continued accumulation of structural information is necessary to elucidate the detailed physiological roles and significance of LTA. In this review article, we summarize the current state of knowledge on LTA structure, in particular the structure of LTA from lactic acid bacteria. We also describe the significance of structural diversity and biological roles of LTA.
Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis GCL2505 (B. lactis GCL2505) is able to survive passage through the intestine and then proliferate, leading to an increase in the amount of gut bifidobacteria. In the present study, we evaluated the impact of B. lactis GCL2505 on abdominal visceral fat storage in overweight and mildly obese Japanese adults. This clinical study was a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel-group comparative trial performed for 12 weeks. Healthy Japanese subjects (N=137) with body mass indices ranging from 23 to 30 kg/m2 consumed either fermented milk containing B. lactis GCL2505 or a placebo every day, and then visceral and subcutaneous abdominal fat areas were measured by computed tomography as the primary endpoints. The number of fecal bifidobacteria was also measured. Visceral fat area, but not subcutaneous fat area, was significantly reduced from baseline at 8 and 12 weeks in the GCL2505 group, compared with the placebo group. The total number of fecal bifidobacteria was significantly increased in the GCL2505 group. These results indicate that B. lactis GCL2505 reduces abdominal visceral fat, a key factor associated with metabolic disorders. This finding suggests that this probiotic strain can potentially serve as a specific functional food to achieve visceral fat reduction in overweight or mildly obese individuals.
Quality assurance and correct taxonomic affiliation of data submitted to public sequence databases have been an everlasting problem. The DDBJ Fast Annotation and Submission Tool (DFAST) is a newly developed genome annotation pipeline with quality and taxonomy assessment tools. To enable annotation of ready-to-submit quality, we also constructed curated reference protein databases tailored for lactic acid bacteria. DFAST was developed so that all the procedures required for DDBJ submission could be done seamlessly online. The online workspace would be especially useful for users not familiar with bioinformatics skills. In addition, we have developed a genome repository, DFAST Archive of Genome Annotation (DAGA), which currently includes 1,421 genomes covering 179 species and 18 subspecies of two genera, Lactobacillus and Pediococcus, obtained from both DDBJ/ENA/GenBank and Sequence Read Archive (SRA). All the genomes deposited in DAGA were annotated consistently and assessed using DFAST. To assess the taxonomic position based on genomic sequence information, we used the average nucleotide identity (ANI), which showed high discriminative power to determine whether two given genomes belong to the same species. We corrected mislabeled or misidentified genomes in the public database and deposited the curated information in DAGA. The repository will improve the accessibility and reusability of genome resources for lactic acid bacteria. By exploiting the data deposited in DAGA, we found intraspecific subgroups in Lactobacillus gasseri and Lactobacillus jensenii, whose variation between subgroups is larger than the well-accepted ANI threshold of 95% to differentiate species. DFAST and DAGA are freely accessible at https://dfast.nig.ac.jp.
The adhesion of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) to the intestinal mucosa is one of the criteria in selecting for probiotics. Eighteen LAB were isolated from porcine intestinal mucin (PIM): ten strains of Lactobacillus, six strains of Weissella, and two strains of Streptococcus. Using sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) for phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) extracts from the LAB, many bands were detected in half of the samples, while a few and/or no clear bands were detected in the other half. All six of the selected LAB showed adhesion to PIM. L. johnsonii MYU 214 and MYU 221 showed adhesion at more than 10%. W. viridescens MYU 208, L. reuteri MYU 213, L. mucosae MYU 225, and L. agilis MYU 227 showed medium levels of adhesion at 5.9–8.3%. In a comprehensive analysis for the adhesins in the PBS extracts using a receptor overlay analysis, many moonlighting proteins were detected and identified as candidates for adhesins: GroEL, enolase, and elongation factor Tu in MYU 208; peptidase C1, enolase, formyl-CoA transferase, phosphoglyceromutase, triosephosphate isomerase, and phosphofructokinase in MYU 221; and DnaK, enolase, and phosphoglycerate kinase in MYU 227. These proteins in the PBS extracts, which included such things as molecular chaperones and glycolytic enzymes, may play important roles as adhesins.