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  • Author or Editor: L. Baccigalupi x
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The interaction between the enteric microbiota and intestinal cells often involves signal molecules that affect both microbial behaviour and host responses. Examples of such signal molecules are the molecules secreted by bacteria that induce quorum sensing mechanisms in the producing microorganism and signal transduction pathways in the host cells. The pentapeptide competence and sporulation factor (CSF) of Bacillus subtilis is a well characterized quorum sensing factor that controls competence and spore formation in the producing bacterium and induces cytoprotective heat shock proteins in intestinal epithelial cells. We analysed several Bacillus strains isolated from human ileal biopsies of healthy volunteers and observed that some of them were unable to produce CSF but still able to act in a CSF-like fashion on model intestinal epithelial cells. One of those strains belonging to the Bacillus megaterium species secreted at least two factors with effects on intestinal HT29 cells: a peptide smaller than 3 kDa able to induce heat shock protein 27 (hsp27) and p38-MAPK, and a larger molecule able to induce protein kinase B (PKB/Akt) with a pro-proliferative effect.

In: Beneficial Microbes

A well-established rat model of diet-induced metabolic syndrome was used to evaluate the effects of the oral administration of spores or cells of HU16, a carotenoid-producing strain of Bacillus indicus. Symptoms of metabolic syndrome were induced in 90-days old, male Sprague-Dawley rats maintained for eight weeks on a high-fat diet, as previously reported. Parallel groups of animals under the same diet regimen also received a daily dose of 1×1010 cells or spores of B. indicus HU16. Cells of strain HU16 were able to reduce symptoms of metabolic syndrome, plasma markers of inflammation and oxidative markers in plasma and liver to levels similar to those observed in rats under a standard diet. HU16 cells did not affect obesity markers or the accumulation of triglycerides in the liver of treated animals. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analysis showed that the oral administration of HU16 cells did not significantly affect the gut microbiota of high fat-fed rats, suggesting that the observed beneficial effects are not due to a reshaping of the gut microbiota but rather to metabolites produced by HU16 cells.

In: Beneficial Microbes


Chronic intestinal inflammation is associated with strong alterations of the microbial composition of the gut. Probiotic treatments and microbiota-targeting approaches have been considered to reduce the inflammation, improve both gut barrier function as well as overall gastrointestinal health. Here, a murine model of experimental colitis was used to assess the beneficial health effects of Bacillus subtilis SF106 and Bacillus clausii (recently renamed Shouchella clausii) SF174, two spore-forming strains previously characterised in vitro as potential probiotics. Experimental colitis was induced in BALB/c mice by the oral administration of dextran sodium sulphate (DSS) and groups of animals treated with spores of either strain. Spores of both strains reduced the DSS-induced inflammation with spores of B. clausii SF174 more effective than B. subtilis SF106. Spores of both strains remodelled the mouse gut microbiota favouring the presence of beneficial microbes such as members of the Bacteroidetes and Akkermansia genera.

In: Beneficial Microbes