Sarah Lebeer

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To unravel the biological function of the widely used probiotic bacterium Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, we compared its 3.0-Mbp genome sequence with the similarly sized genome of L. rhamnosus LC705, an adjunct starter culture exhibiting reduced binding to mucus. Both genomes demonstrated high sequence identity and synteny. However, for both strains, genomic(More)
Lactobacilli have been crucial for the production of fermented products for centuries. They are also members of the mutualistic microbiota present in the human gastrointestinal and urogenital tract. Recently, increasing attention has been given to their probiotic, health-promoting capacities. Many human intervention studies demonstrating health effects have(More)
How can probiotic bacteria transduce their health benefits to the host? Bacterial cell surface macromolecules are key factors in this beneficial microorganism–host crosstalk, as they can interact with host pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) of the gastrointestinal mucosa. In this Review, we highlight the documented signalling interactions of the surface(More)
Cell surface polysaccharides have an established role as virulence factors in human bacterial pathogens. Less documented are the biosynthesis and biological functions of surface polysaccharides in beneficial bacteria. We identified a gene cluster that encodes the enzymes and regulatory and transporter proteins for the different steps in the biosynthesis of(More)
The knowledge of molecular mechanisms underlying the adhesive and mechanical properties of cell surface-associated molecules is a key to understanding their functions. In this context, single-molecule force spectroscopy (SMFS) has recently offered new opportunities for probing the adhesion and mechanics of polysaccharides and proteins on live cells. Here we(More)
The nanoscale exploration of microbes using atomic force microscopy (AFM) is an exciting, rapidly evolving research field. Here, we show that single-molecule force spectroscopy is a valuable tool for the localization and conformational analysis of individual polysaccharides on live bacteria. We focus on the clinically important probiotic bacterium(More)
BACKGROUND Probiotic bacteria are increasingly used as immunomodulatory agents. Yet detailed molecular knowledge on the immunomodulatory molecules of these bacteria is lagging behind. Lipoteichoic acid (LTA) is considered a major microbe-associated molecular pattern (MAMP) of Gram-positive bacteria. However, many details and quantitative data on its immune(More)
The urogenital tract appears to be the only niche of the human body that shows clear differences in microbiota between men and women. The female reproductive tract has special features in terms of immunological organization, an epithelial barrier, microbiota, and influence by sex hormones such as estrogen. While the upper genital tract is regarded as free(More)
Knowledge of the mechanisms by which bacterial pili adhere to host cells and withstand external forces is critical to our understanding of their functional roles and offers exciting avenues in biomedicine for controlling the adhesion of bacterial pathogens and probiotics. While much progress has been made in the nanoscale characterization of pili from(More)
BACKGROUND Although the occurrence, biosynthesis and possible functions of glycoproteins are increasingly documented for pathogens, glycoproteins are not yet widely described in probiotic bacteria. Nevertheless, knowledge of protein glycosylation holds important potential for better understanding specific glycan-mediated interactions of probiotics and for(More)