Bifidobacteria represent one of the most common inhabitants of the mammalian and animal gastrointestinal tract (GIT). In the human GIT their presence has been associated with beneficial health effects, such as prevention of diarrhoea, amelioration of lacto se intolerance, and immunomodulation. These correlations have led to the widespread use of many bifidobacterial strains as components of health-promoting foods (probiotic foods). Despite the generally accepted importance of bifidobacteria as probiotic components of human GIT microflora, and their use in health-promoting foods, there is a large paucity of information about their physiology, phylogenetic relationship, and underlying genetics. Bacterial genome sequencing is considered to be the gateway to a new era of biological investigation, which will shed light on the interactive genetics underlying all microbial properties.
Unfortunately, so far bifidobacterial genomics represent an under-explored field since from a total of over 32 currently recognized species of this genus only one strain harbouring the Bifidobacterium longum species has been fully sequenced. Bifidobacteria represent an ideal target for studying the genetic borderline between health-promoting bacteria (probiotic) and pathogenic bacteria since bifidobacteria include both species with food-grade and probiotic properties as well as species exhibiting typical pathogenic characteristics. This latter group of bifidobacterial strains consists of Bifidobacterium dentium strains, which have been show n to be one of the main actor for human dental caries formation.
This proposal will focus on the genome sequencing of a cariogenic B. dentium strain in order to shed light on the virulent determinants of this microrganism and to identify the genetic basis o f the bifidobacterial probiotic phenotypes through genome sequence comparison of B. dentium strain with a typical probiotic bifidobacterial strain like B. longum.
Field of science
- /natural sciences/biological sciences/genetics and heredity/genome
- /natural sciences/biological sciences/microbiology/virology
- /natural sciences/biological sciences/genetics and heredity/dna
- /natural sciences/biological sciences/microbiology/bacteriology
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