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Title: Interactions between Blastocystis subtype ST4 and gut microbiota in vitro
Authors: Deng, Lei
Tan, Kevin SW 
Keywords: Blastocystis
Gut microbiota
Epithelial barrier
Issue Date: 8-Mar-2022
Publisher: BMC
Citation: Deng, Lei, Tan, Kevin SW (2022-03-08). Interactions between Blastocystis subtype ST4 and gut microbiota in vitro. PARASITES & VECTORS 15 (1). ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Background: Blastocystis ST4 is a common protistan parasite of the gastrointestinal tract of humans and a wide range of animals. While it has been suggested that colonization with ST4 is associated with healthy gut microbiota, how ST4 influences the gut microbiota remains poorly studied. This study aimed to examine the interactions between ST4 and several intestinal bacteria using in vitro co-culture systems, and to further investigate the mechanism of interaction and its effect on the epithelial barrier integrity of HT-29 cells. Methods: Seven intestinal bacteria Bacteroides fragilis, Bifidobacterium longum, Bacillus subtilis, Bacteroides vulgatus, Escherichia coli, Enterococcus faecalis, and Lactobacillus brevis were co-cultured with Blastocystis ST4 in vitro. Flow cytometry and quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) were used to determine the role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and bacteria oxidoreductase genes, respectively, in response to Blastocystis co-incubation. Transepithelial electrical resistance (TEER) and flux assays were performed to assess the effect of microbiota representatives on the integrity of the intestinal epithelial barrier. Results: Co-incubation with Blastocystis ST4 showed a beneficial influence on most intestinal bacteria, while ST4 significantly inhibited the growth of B. vulgatus, a common pathogen in the genus Bacteroides. The decrease in B. vulgatus when co-incubated with Blastocystis ST4 was associated with high levels of ROS and the upregulation of oxidative stress-related genes. Furthermore, co-incubation with Blastocystis ST4 was able to protect the intestinal epithelial barrier from damage by B. vulgatus. Conclusions: This study demonstrated, for the first time, that Blastocystis ST4 has beneficial effects on intestinal commensal bacteria in vitro, and can inhibit the growth of pathogenic B. vulgatus. Combined with previous microbiome research on ST4, our data suggest that ST4 may be a beneficial commensal. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].
ISSN: 1756-3305
DOI: 10.1186/s13071-022-05194-x
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