Sweeten up the neighbours

bacteria halloween helicobacter hepaticus

This guest blog post come from Helicobacter hepaticus, a frenemy.

I recently moved in to a new neighbourhood. It’s so busy round here. There just seems to be more and more competition for space and you take what you can get. Having said that I am quite particular about where I live, I like things just so. So my place is just as I want it, it even came with a huge wall that separates me from the neighbours so I can keep myself to myself. I haven’t had too much to do with my direct neighbours, the Mcrophages (or maybe it’s Mac, I’m not sure) except for Halloween…

It was my first Halloween here and I was expecting the worst. The M(a)crophages do not have a good reputation and the chitter chatter around town suggests that they can be quite aggressive and unpredictable. I was dreading them knocking on the door. Candy in hand, I started the evening peeking through my curtains to see who would pay me a visit. No-one came. I waited an hour, no-one came. Another hour past, no-one came. Just as I was placing my candy back in the cupboard to call it a night, a last peek through the curtains revealed what can only be described as a herd…no a flock…no a mononuclear phagocyte system of M(a)crophages! Gosh did they look hungry. They came bounding down the path with their mouths wide open, running towards my front door as predators approach their prey. I was terrified. This was it. They were right.

Knock…Knock…Knock. Tentatively I opened the door, chain still on, poking my candy-laden hand out of the small opening. “Thank-you!”, called a soft voice. What was happening. Is this a trick I thought. Are they lulling me into a false sense of security before…before what? What did I actually think was going to happen? They were going to trick or treat me to death? I took off the chain and invited everyone inside. I even opened the huge candy that I was saving for a special occasion, to share with the M(a)crophage kids. If anything, sharing this with them made them even more delightful, extremely calm and friendly.

I realised that the M(a)crophages’ reputation really came from the tendency of the other folk in the neighbourhood to be, well, let’s say a bit inflammatory.

This blog post is based on the research article:

A Large Polysaccharide Produced by Helicobacter hepaticus Induces an Anti-inflammatory Gene Signature in Macrophages.

A shed load of work

Bifidobacteria bacteria cartoon image

This guest blog post comes from Bifidobacterium breve, “A good one”.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my job. It’s just sometimes…pfff. I run my own plastering company – Exolent Plastering Services (EPS Ltd.). Usually we’re there at the beginning of a project, set things up and then others take over. But sometimes we’re called back in, usually when things have gone wrong.

This was one of those times. It was a wall. A simple(ish) wall, you know, keeping some stuff out and other stuff in. We had set up the project as I described but were not due to do any further work…when we got a call. There was a sense of panic in their voice so we dropped what we were doing and headed straight over.

You wouldn’t believe what we saw. It was a mess. Firstly the wall looked as if it had been exposed to the elements, bits were falling off everywhere. Someone mentioned that it was caused by something that had leaked through, L-something, I don’t remember. Anyway we got down to business, doing what we do. “Pass me the D88”, I shouted to the inhabitants. Would you believe they didn’t have any. I had to use my D88…the things I put up with!

Anyway, once I had located my D88, EPS started its work, plastering up the wall and preventing further damage. We worked tirelessly to get the job done. Not to blow our own trumpet but there is no other company that could have done this type of work (and others have tried). No, no, you need EPS!

This post is based on the research article:

Bifidobacterium breve reduces apoptotic epithelial cell shedding in an exopolysaccharide and MyD88-dependent manner

The food that brought us closer together

This guest post comes from Epithelial cell, best known for its role in ‘The gut barrier’.

OMG! I just have to tell you about this new place we found – The Intest Inn.

It’s the kind of eatery that most folk would just pass by (it’s a little quirky).

When you arrive there’s a very distinctive, pungent smell. I guess it’s from the food preparation but I can see why some would be put off by it. We thought it added to the charm.

One of the best things about the Intest Inn is the menu. Apparently it is continually changing depending on ingredients they happen to get in. As it happened, we had gone at the perfect time.

They had just recieved a delivery. A rare delivery. Pomegranates! They mentioned how the chefs had been working on a major new pomegranate recipe that creates a taste sensation. We were excited!

We waited patiently for our dish to be served, absorbing the atmosphere, giddy with anticipation. We were not disappointed. It was beyond food. Beyond sustenance. Each mouthful took us to places unimaginable, sharing and basking in gastronomical glory.

It was as if the food had transformed us. We sat united, together we could take on the world! We thank everyone at the Intest Inn. The experience was far more than a dining one, and the shared enjoyment has made us stronger and tighter as a group.

This post is based on the following research article:

Enhancement of the gut barrier integrity by a microbial metabolite through the Nrf2 pathway

Growing apart


This guest post comes from Escherichia coli Nissle, best known for its probiotic activities

It was like we were meant to be together. In the beginning. We were friends, cut from the same cloth. We grew up together in a small community and sure, it wasn’t the most diverse community but we knew everyone, everything was familiar. One of the best things about our friendship was that we enjoyed the same foods. And we ate! We would just sit, eat, laugh…repeat.

I expected to have these friends forever, there was nothing that could break us apart. Life was good…until it wasn’t.

I have no idea how or why it happened but folk started to change. Maybe I changed, I don’t know. We no longer hung out together or ate at the same places. I started to eat alone, chowing down on the same old things that I used to enjoy with friends. I watched as they got stronger, moved on. I guess we just drifted apart. They managed to respond to the pressures of life, leaving me behind.

I have never before experienced the stress and heartache that came with losing my friends but I believe I am stronger for it.

This post is based on the following research article:
“Adaptive Strategies of the Candidate Probiotic E. coli Nissle in the Mammalian Gut”