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Microorganisms, Volume 5, Issue 4 (December 2017)

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Research

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Open AccessCommunication Markers of Microbial Translocation and Immune Activation Predict Cognitive Processing Speed in Heavy-Drinking Men Living with HIV
Microorganisms 2017, 5(4), 64; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5040064
Received: 28 August 2017 / Revised: 15 September 2017 / Accepted: 20 September 2017 / Published: 21 September 2017
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Abstract
HIV infection and alcohol use disorder are associated with deficits in neurocognitive function. Emerging evidence points to pro-inflammatory perturbations of the gut-brain axis as potentially contributing to neurocognitive impairment in the context of HIV and chronic heavy alcohol use. This study examined whether
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HIV infection and alcohol use disorder are associated with deficits in neurocognitive function. Emerging evidence points to pro-inflammatory perturbations of the gut-brain axis as potentially contributing to neurocognitive impairment in the context of HIV and chronic heavy alcohol use. This study examined whether plasma markers of microbial translocation (LPS) from the gastrointestinal tract and related immune activation (sCD14, EndoCAb) were associated with neurocognition in 21 men living with HIV who were virally suppressed on antiretroviral therapy. All participants met federal criteria for heavy drinking and were enrolled in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of a brief alcohol intervention. This secondary analysis utilized blood samples and cognitive scores (learning, memory, executive function, verbal fluency, and processing speed) obtained at baseline and three-month follow-up of the RCT. In generalized estimating equation models, LPS, sCD14, and EndoCAb individually were significant predictors of processing speed. In a model with all biomarkers, higher LPS and sCD14 both remained significant predictors of lower processing speed. These preliminary findings suggest that inflammation stemming from HIV and/or alcohol could have negative effects on the gut-brain axis, manifested as diminished processing speed. Associations of microbial translocation and immune activation with processing speed in heavy-drinking PLWH warrant further investigation in larger-scale studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbiome Gut Brain Axis)
Open AccessArticle A Two-Step Bioconversion Process for Canolol Production from Rapeseed Meal Combining an Aspergillus niger Feruloyl Esterase and the Fungus Neolentinus lepideus
Microorganisms 2017, 5(4), 67; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5040067
Received: 5 September 2017 / Revised: 2 October 2017 / Accepted: 11 October 2017 / Published: 14 October 2017
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Abstract
Rapeseed meal is a cheap and abundant raw material, particularly rich in phenolic compounds of biotechnological interest. In this study, we developed a two-step bioconversion process of naturally occurring sinapic acid (4-hydroxy-3,5-dimethoxycinnamic acid) from rapeseed meal into canolol by combining the complementary potentialities
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Rapeseed meal is a cheap and abundant raw material, particularly rich in phenolic compounds of biotechnological interest. In this study, we developed a two-step bioconversion process of naturally occurring sinapic acid (4-hydroxy-3,5-dimethoxycinnamic acid) from rapeseed meal into canolol by combining the complementary potentialities of two filamentous fungi, the micromycete Aspergillus niger and the basidiomycete Neolentinus lepideus. Canolol could display numerous industrial applications because of its high antioxidant, antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic properties. In the first step of the process, the use of the enzyme feruloyl esterase type-A (named AnFaeA) produced with the recombinant strain A. niger BRFM451 made it possible to release free sinapic acid from the raw meal by hydrolysing the conjugated forms of sinapic acid in the meal (mainly sinapine and glucopyranosyl sinapate). An amount of 39 nkat AnFaeA per gram of raw meal, at 55 °C and pH 5, led to the recovery of 6.6 to 7.4 mg of free sinapic acid per gram raw meal, which corresponded to a global hydrolysis yield of 68 to 76% and a 100% hydrolysis of sinapine. Then, the XAD2 adsorbent (a styrene and divinylbenzene copolymer resin), used at pH 4, enabled the efficient recovery of the released sinapic acid, and its concentration after elution with ethanol. In the second step, 3-day-old submerged cultures of the strain N. lepideus BRFM15 were supplied with the recovered sinapic acid as the substrate of bioconversion into canolol by a non-oxidative decarboxylation pathway. Canolol production reached 1.3 g/L with a molar yield of bioconversion of 80% and a productivity of 100 mg/L day. The same XAD2 resin, when used at pH 7, allowed the recovery and purification of canolol from the culture broth of N. lepideus. The two-step process used mild conditions compatible with green chemistry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Filamentous Fungi in White Biotechnology)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Nutritional Requirements and Their Importance for Virulence of Pathogenic Cryptococcus Species
Microorganisms 2017, 5(4), 65; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5040065
Received: 17 August 2017 / Revised: 27 September 2017 / Accepted: 27 September 2017 / Published: 30 September 2017
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Abstract
Cryptococcus sp. are basidiomycete yeasts which can be found widely, free-living in the environment. Interactions with natural predators, such as amoebae in the soil, are thought to have promoted the development of adaptations enabling the organism to survive inside human macrophages. Infection with
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Cryptococcus sp. are basidiomycete yeasts which can be found widely, free-living in the environment. Interactions with natural predators, such as amoebae in the soil, are thought to have promoted the development of adaptations enabling the organism to survive inside human macrophages. Infection with Cryptococcus in humans occurs following inhalation of desiccated yeast cells or spore particles and may result in fatal meningoencephalitis. Human disease is caused almost exclusively by the Cryptococcus neoformans species complex, which predominantly infects immunocompromised patients, and the Cryptococcus gattii species complex, which is capable of infecting immunocompetent individuals. The nutritional requirements of Cryptococcus are critical for its virulence in animals. Cryptococcus has evolved a broad range of nutrient acquisition strategies, many if not most of which also appear to contribute to its virulence, enabling infection of animal hosts. In this review, we summarise the current understanding of nutritional requirements and acquisition in Cryptococcus and offer perspectives to its evolution as a significant pathogen of humans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Nutrition Assimilation Strategies and Pathogenicity)
Open AccessReview The Gut Microbiome Feelings of the Brain: A Perspective for Non-Microbiologists
Microorganisms 2017, 5(4), 66; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5040066
Received: 30 August 2017 / Revised: 28 September 2017 / Accepted: 9 October 2017 / Published: 12 October 2017
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Abstract
Objectives: To comprehensively review the scientific knowledge on the gut–brain axis. Methods: Various publications on the gut–brain axis, until 31 July 2017, were screened using the Medline, Google, and Cochrane Library databases. The search was performed using the following keywords: “gut-brain axis”, “gut-microbiota-brain
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Objectives: To comprehensively review the scientific knowledge on the gut–brain axis. Methods: Various publications on the gut–brain axis, until 31 July 2017, were screened using the Medline, Google, and Cochrane Library databases. The search was performed using the following keywords: “gut-brain axis”, “gut-microbiota-brain axis”, “nutrition microbiome/microbiota”, “enteric nervous system”, “enteric glial cells/network”, “gut-brain pathways”, “microbiome immune system”, “microbiome neuroendocrine system” and “intestinal/gut/enteric neuropeptides”. Relevant articles were selected and reviewed. Results: Tremendous progress has been made in exploring the interactions between nutrients, the microbiome, and the intestinal, epithelium–enteric nervous, endocrine and immune systems and the brain. The basis of the gut–brain axis comprises of an array of multichannel sensing and trafficking pathways that are suggested to convey the enteric signals to the brain. These are mediated by neuroanatomy (represented by the vagal and spinal afferent neurons), the neuroendocrine–hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis (represented by the gut hormones), immune routes (represented by multiple cytokines), microbially-derived neurotransmitters, and finally the gate keepers of the intestinal and brain barriers. Their mutual and harmonious but intricate interaction is essential for human life and brain performance. However, a failure in the interaction leads to a number of inflammatory-, autoimmune-, neurodegenerative-, metabolic-, mood-, behavioral-, cognitive-, autism-spectrum-, stress- and pain-related disorders. The limited availability of information on the mechanisms, pathways and cause-and-effect relationships hinders us from translating and implementing the knowledge from the bench to the clinic. Implications: Further understanding of this intricate field might potentially shed light on novel preventive and therapeutic strategies to combat these disorders. Nutritional approaches, microbiome manipulations, enteric and brain barrier reinforcement and sensing and trafficking modulation might improve physical and mental health outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbiome Gut Brain Axis)
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