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J Anim Sci. 2011 Oct;89(10):3125-31. doi: 10.2527/jas.2010-2996. Epub 2011 May 27.

Protein-carbohydrate interactions between Lactobacillus salivarius and pig mucins.

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  • 1Coordinación de Ciencia de los Alimentos, Centro de Investigación en Alimentación y Desarrollo A.C., Carretera a la Victoria Km. 0.6, Hermosillo, Sonora 83304, México.


Adherence to the gastrointestinal tract is a key element desirable for many of the proposed beneficial health effects of probiotic bacteria. The aims of this study were to determine the amounts of adhesion of 3 Lactobacillus salivarius strains (Lb6, Lb9, and Lb10) to porcine small intestinal mucins and to determine whether adhesion is a function of lectin-like activities. Dot and Western blot assays were performed to investigate bacterial adhesion. Several carbohydrates and glycoproteins were evaluated to determine whether they interfered with adhesion of the Lactobacillus strains to intestinal mucins and to determine whether they had lectin-like activities. The Lb9 and Lb10 strains had greater association with piglet mucins than did those from 22- to 24-wk-old finishing pigs (P = 0.021 and 0.037, respectively), whereas the Lb6 strain adhered to both (P = 0.138). Western blot assays showed that bacterial adhesion detected piglet mucosa from the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. In finishing pigs, the adhesion was variable throughout the gastrointestinal tract. Galactose and mannose diminished the interaction of the Lb9 and Lb10 strains in intestinal mucosa (P = 0.028 and 0.026, respectively), whereas pig gastric mucin reduced the adhesion of the Lb6 strain (P = 0.013). Adhesion of the Lb9 and Lb10 strains to intestinal mucosa was less after protease treatment (P = 0.023 and 0.018, respectively), which indicates that proteins are needed for the Lb9 and Lb10 strains to recognize mucin. The Lb6 strain also demonstrated diminished adhesion after periodate treatment (P = 0.038). From these results, we suggest that the nature of the bacterial lectin-like substance is a surface protein that loosely binds to the bacterial cell surface. All the tested strains adhered to specific targets in the small intestinal mucosa of piglets, and the bacteria had lectin-like proteins involved in this adhesion.

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