Project description:BACKGROUND: Bifidobacteria are commonly found as part of the microbiota of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) of a broad range of hosts, where their presence is positively correlated with the host's health status. In this study, we assessed the genomes of thirteen representatives of Bifidobacterium breve, which is not only a frequently encountered component of the (adult and infant) human gut microbiota, but can also be isolated from human milk and vagina. RESULTS: In silico analysis of genome sequences from thirteen B. breve strains isolated from different environments (infant and adult faeces, human milk, human vagina) shows that the genetic variability of this species principally consists of hypothetical genes and mobile elements, but, interestingly, also genes correlated with the adaptation to host environment and gut colonization. These latter genes specify the biosynthetic machinery for sortase-dependent pili and exopolysaccharide production, as well as genes that provide protection against invasion of foreign DNA (i.e. CRISPR loci and restriction/modification systems), and genes that encode enzymes responsible for carbohydrate fermentation. Gene-trait matching analysis showed clear correlations between known metabolic capabilities and characterized genes, and it also allowed the identification of a gene cluster involved in the utilization of the alcohol-sugar sorbitol. CONCLUSIONS: Genome analysis of thirteen representatives of the B. breve species revealed that the deduced pan-genome exhibits an essentially close trend. For this reason our analyses suggest that this number of B. breve representatives is sufficient to fully describe the pan-genome of this species. Comparative genomics also facilitated the genetic explanation for differential carbon source utilization phenotypes previously observed in different strains of B. breve.
Project description:Increasing evidence supports the importance of the breast milk microbiome in seeding the infant gut. However, the origin of bacteria in milk and the process of milk microbe-mediated seeding of infant intestine need further elucidation. Presumed sources of bacteria in milk include locations of mother-infant and mother-environment interactions. We investigate the role of mother-infant interaction on breast milk microbes. Shotgun metagenomics and 16S rRNA gene sequencing identified milk microbes of mother-infant pairs in breastfed infants and in infants that have never latched. Although breast milk has low overall biomass, milk microbes play an important role in seeding the infant gut. Breast milk bacteria were largely comprised of Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Acinetobacter, and Enterobacter primarily derived from maternal areolar skin and infant oral sites in breastfeeding pairs. This suggests that the process of breastfeeding is a potentially important mechanism for propagation of breast milk microbes through retrograde flux via infant oral and areolar skin contact. In one infant delivered via Caesarian section, a distinct strain of Bifidobacteria breve was identified in maternal rectum, breast milk and the infant's stool potentially suggesting direct transmission. This may support the existence of microbial translocation of this anaerobic bacteria via the enteromammary pathway in humans, where maternal bacteria translocate across the maternal gut and are transferred to the mammary glands. Modulating sources of human milk microbiome seeding potentially imply opportunities to ultimately influence the development of the infant microbiome and health.