Empiric probiotics are commonly consumed by healthy individuals as means of life quality improvement and disease prevention. However, evidence of probiotic gut mucosal colonization efficacy remains sparse and controversial. We metagenomically characterized the murine and human mucosal-associated gastrointestinal microbiome and found it to only partially correlate with stool microbiome. A sequential invasive multi-omics measurement at baseline and during consumption of an 11-strain probiotic combination or placebo demonstrated that probiotics remain viable upon gastrointestinal passage.

Can a heterotrophic organism be evolved to synthesize biomass from CO2 directly? So far, non-native carbon fixation in which biomass precursors are synthesized solely from CO2 has remained an elusive grand challenge. Here, we demonstrate how a combination of rational metabolic rewiring, recombinant expression, and laboratory evolution has led to the biosynthesis of sugars and other major biomass constituents by a fully functional Calvin-Benson-Bassham (CBB) cycle in E. coli.

As the frequency and prevalence of zoonotic diseases increase worldwide, investigating how mammal host distributions determine patterns of human disease and predicting which regions are at greatest risk for future zoonotic disease emergence are two goals which both require better understanding of the current distributions of zoonotic hosts and pathogens. We review here the existing data about mammalian host species, comparing and contrasting these patterns against global maps of zoonotic hosts from all 27 orders of terrestrial mammals.

To maintain a symbiotic relationship between the host and its resident intestinal microbiota, appropriate mucosal T cell responses to commensal antigens must be established. Mice acquire both IgG and IgA maternally; the former has primarily been implicated in passive immunity to pathogens while the latter mediates host-commensal mutualism. Here, we report the surprising observation that mice generate T cell-independent and largely Toll-like receptor (TLR)-dependent IgG2b and IgG3 antibody responses against their gut microbiota.

Elevated postprandial blood glucose levels constitute a global epidemic and a major risk factor for prediabetes and type II diabetes, but existing dietary methods for controlling them have limited efficacy. Here, we continuously monitored week-long glucose levels in an 800-person cohort, measured responses to 46,898 meals, and found high variability in the response to identical meals, suggesting that universal dietary recommendations may have limited utility.

Original Source

The bacteria Yersinia pestis is the etiological agent of plague and has caused human pandemics with millions of deaths in historic times. How and when it originated remains contentious. Here, we report the oldest direct evidence of Yersinia pestis identified by ancient DNA in human teeth from Asia and Europe dating from 2,800 to 5,000 years ago. By sequencing the genomes, we find that these ancient plague strains are basal to all known Yersinia pestis. We find the origins of the Yersinia pestis lineage to be at least two times older than previous estimates.

Acquisition of the intestinal microbiota begins at birth, and a stable microbial community develops from a succession of key organisms. Disruption of the microbiota during maturation by low-dose antibiotic exposure can alter host metabolism and adiposity. We now show that low-dose penicillin (LDP), delivered from birth, induces metabolic alterations and affects ileal expression of genes involved in immunity.

UV light is an established carcinogen, yet evidence suggests that UV-seeking behavior has addictive features. Following UV exposure, epidermal keratinocytes synthesize proopiomelanocortin (POMC) that is processed to melanocyte-stimulating hormone, inducing tanning. We show that, in rodents, another POMC-derived peptide, β-endorphin, is coordinately synthesized in skin, elevating plasma levels after low-dose UV. Increases in pain-related thresholds are observed and reversed by pharmacologic opioid antagonism. Opioid blockade also elicits withdrawal signs after chronic UV exposure.

Autophagy has been implicated in many physiological and pathological processes. Accordingly, there is a growing scientific need to accurately identify, quantify, and manipulate the process of autophagy in cells. However, as autophagy involves dynamic and complicated processes, it is often analyzed incorrectly. In this Primer, we discuss methods to monitor autophagy and to modulate autophagic activity, with a primary focus on mammalian macroautophagy.