Navigation Links
Metabolic engineer synthesizes key breast milk ingredient, makes research possible
Date:9/10/2012

URBANA - A University of Illinois microbial engineer has synthesized a sugar in human milk that is thought to protect babies from pathogens. That's important because 2FL, the shorthand scientists use to describe this human milk oligosaccharide (HMO), has not been added to infant formula because HMOs are incredibly expensive.

"We know these oligosaccharides play a vital role in developing a breast-fed baby's gut microbiota and in strengthening their immunity. 2FL (2-fucosyllactose) is the most abundant HMO in breast milk," said Michael Miller, a U of I professor of food microbiology.

To learn more about the HMO's function, Miller would like to do research with 2FL in newborn piglets, an excellent model for the human infant.

Unfortunately, 1 milligram of 2FL costs $100, meaning a single study would require $1 million for the HMO alone, he said.

Microbiologist, meet metabolic engineer. Yong-Su Jin, a departmental colleague and professor in the U of I's Institute for Genomic Biology, believed he could synthesize this oligosaccharide found in breast milk using a strain of E. coli engineered for that purpose.

A new postdoctoral researcher in Jin's laboratory had done some of the legwork for such a project in Korea, and they used their combined experience and expertise to engineer an HMO that can be produced very cheaply and quickly: 1 gram of 2FL per liter of E. coli broth. That means it's possible to produce 2FL in the lab, making Miller's piglet research feasible, he said.

"E. coli makes a starting material for 2FL as part of its normal metabolism, and that suggested to us that it was possible to use E. coli to produce 2FL," Jin said.

"The trick is to get the E. coli cells to increase their production of the starting material (GDP-fucose), which we did by overexpressing the pre-existing biosynthetic pathway. Then we had to give it the ability to transfer GDP-fucose to lactose. We solved that problem by inserting a gene from another organism," he added.

The next step was developing an E. coli mutant that can assimilate lactose. "Because the engineered mutant cannot use the lactose for its own growth, it instead uses lactose to make great quantities of 2FL, the HMO that many researchers want to study," he said.

Miller will soon be able to begin a study investigating the role of 2FL in infant nutrition and eventually make recommendations about whether it should be added to infant formula. "And we can use this technique to synthesize and study the hundreds of other HMOs in human milk too."

The research has other interesting possibilities unrelated to infant nutrition, he said.

Jin and Miller believe that their work has pharmaceutical applications. "Adding 2FL to the food of soldiers on deployment could keep them out of sick bay. More than half of all soldiers in the field are incapacitated at some point with diarrheal illness caused by Campylobacter jejuni," Jin said.

A second use might be reducing the number of Campylobacter infections that originate in raw or undercooked poultry. "If chickens consumed poultry feed containing 2FL, pathogens would bind to this oligosaccharide instead of the mucosal lining of the bird's intestine and be eliminated well before the chicken arrived at your supermarket," Miller added.


'/>"/>
Contact: Phyllis Picklesimer
p-pickle@illinois.edu
217-244-2827
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Obesity and metabolic syndrome associated with impaired brain function in adolescents
2. New research uncovers diverse metabolic roles for PML tumor suppressor gene
3. Ancestral link places Mexican-Americans at greater risk for metabolic disease
4. Metabolic protein wields phosphate group to activate cancer-promoting genes
5. Bees shed light on human sweet perception and metabolic disorders
6. Metabolic Cooking Review For Karine Losier and Dave Ruel's Diet And Cookbook Program Released
7. VCU researchers identify changes in cholesterol metabolic pathways
8. Mutant Kras drives pancreatic cancer maintenance via metabolic pathways
9. Study: Women not getting enough exercise; at risk of developing metabolic syndrome
10. Normal triglyceride levels in people of African descent may hinder diagnosis of metabolic syndrome
11. Engineers improve blood testing technology with smartphone app, hand-held biosensor
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... May 05, 2016 , ... This weekend, from Friday, May 6 - Sunday, May 8, ... terrain at the first Team Semper Fi Mountain Bike Camp, hosted in conjunction with ... bike legends Mark Weir and Jason Moeschler, who’ll share pro tips with the injured veterans ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... Stockholm/San Jose (PRWEB) , ... May 05, 2016 , ... ... the art of self-love. Every day, LELO fans reach out via email, social media ... recurring question keeps upcoming up: “Is the way I masturbate ‘normal’ or ‘correct’?” , ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... May 05, 2016 , ... ... in all U.S. states and certain Canadian provinces is now available from the ... Research Institute (WCRI). , The report, Workers’ Compensation Laws as of ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... New York (PRWEB) , ... May 05, 2016 , ... ... today announced the merger of noted Long Island eye surgeon, Kathleen Van Valkenburg, MD ... City practice, according to Jeffrey Martin, MD, medical director and managing partner of North ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... 05, 2016 , ... Standard Process Inc. announces ... United States. The whole food nutrient solutions company can help veterinarians grow their ... and horse owners’ peace of mind. With the increased support, veterinarian customers can ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/5/2016)... , May 5, 2016 ... the addition of the  "Europe Thrombocytopenia ... 2016"  report to their offering.  ... ) , ,The latest research Europe ... - 2016, provides comprehensive insights into ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... , May 5, 2016 ... of the  "Europe Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Market ... to their offering.       (Logo: ... latest research Europe Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Market ... comprehensive insights into Systemic Lupus Erythematosus pipeline ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... 4, 2016 According to a ... Computer Interface Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, ... computer interface (BCI) market  is expected to reach a ... estimated to expand at a CAGR of 14.9 % ... A BCI device provides collaboration between the brain ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: