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J Biol Chem. 2011 Apr 8;286(14):11909-18. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.193359. Epub 2011 Feb 2.

An infant-associated bacterial commensal utilizes breast milk sialyloligosaccharides.

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Microbiology Graduate Group, Department of Chemistry, The Robert Mondavi Institute, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616-5270, USA.

Erratum in

  • J Biol Chem. 2011 Jul 1;286(26):23620.


Lactating mothers secrete milk sialyloligosaccharides (MSOs) that function as anti-adhesives once provided to the neonate. Particular infant-associated commensals, such as Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis, consume neutral milk oligosaccharides, although their ability to utilize acidic oligosaccharides has not been assessed. Temporal glycoprofiling of acidic HMO consumed during fermentation demonstrated a single composition, with several isomers, corresponding to sialylated lacto-N-tetraose. To utilize MSO, B. longum subsp. infantis deploys a sialidase that cleaves α2-6 and α2-3 linkages. NanH2, encoded within the HMO catabolic cluster is up-regulated during HMO fermentation and is active on sialylated lacto-N-tetraose. These results demonstrate that commensal microorganisms do utilize MSO, a substrate that may be enriched in the distal gastrointestinal tract.

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