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Research Highlight: Bacteria and immune cells forge a productive partnership

Research Scientist of the Microbe Division (JCM), RIKEN BioResource Center, Dr. Mitsuo Sakamoto:

Bacteria and immune cells forge a productive partnership
Immune cells act as essential intermediaries between the intestines and ‘friendly’ gut bacteria in the effort to prevent infection....>>more
Research Highlight

The article above describes research achievement (published on Science on September 12, 2014) made by collaboration among the University of Tokyo, RIKEN BRC, Yakult Central Institute and the National Institute of Biomedical Innovation.

The research group was led by Dr. Yoshiyuki Goto, research fellow (currently doctoral research fellow of Columbia University and former student trainee of RIKEN BRC-JCM) and Professor Hiroshi Kiyono of the Institute of Medical Science, the University of Tokyo. Contributors from RIKEN BRC include Dr. Yoshimi Benno, former head of the Microbe Division (JCM), besides Dr. Sakamoto, research scientist.

From the perspectives of biological resources, the point of this achievement is:

Segmented Filamentous Bacteria (SFB)

This study demonstrated that commensal bacteria, including "segmented filamentous bacteria (SFB)", are involved in the induction and maintenance of the enzyme fucosyltransferase 2 (Fut2) expression and subsequent epithelial fucosylation in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract in mice. Polymorphisms in the FUT2 gene are associated with various metabolic and inflammatory diseases, including chronic intestinal inflammation such as Crohn's disease and infections with pathogenic microorganisms in humans.
In order to produce "SFB" of the quality required as "bioresource", establishment of cultivation and preservation method is indispensable, but it has not come about yet. When it is realized, "SFB" will be widely available as a bioresource, which may lead to novel approaches for the control of intestinal infection and inflammation by applying the mechanisms of intestinal epithelial cell glycosylation revealed in this study.