subject: microbes

Milk Cells Cast NETs to Snare Pathogens

Milk Cells Cast NETs to Snare Pathogens

The list of proteins in cow’s milk just keeps getting longer. Tim Reinhardt and colleagues have now discovered nearly 3000 unique proteins in cow’s milk (1). While that would be a story by itself, they also reveal evidence for web-like nets that immune cells secrete into milk when pathogens are present. Yes, milk is cooler than fiction. Read More...

From Mother’s Gut to Milk

From Mother's Gut to Milk

In a world filled with harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites, it seems quite paradoxical that a human infant would be born with an immature and inefficient immune system. That is, of course, until you realize the infant benefits from mom’s immune system hard at work in mucosal surfaces. The process of transferring immunity, also known as passive immunity, begins during pregnancy with the transfer of Immunglobulin G (IgG) cells from maternal to fetal circulation through the placenta. At birth, the mammary gland takes over, providing numerous types of immunogloblulins (antibodies) and other immune factors. Read More...

Tales from an often-ignored community

Tales from an often-ignored community

Breast milk contains bacteria. That much is known. Some studies (although not, alas, the Human Microbiome Project) have even characterized the bacterial community found in milk. But how does the composition of such a community vary among women? And how might it change over the course of lactation? Read More...

What comes next

What comes next

Keeping funding agencies and researchers properly in the loop, Peggy Neville, who recently retired from the University of Colorado, Denver, has published a review in which she and her coauthors run through four key research priorities in the field how the components of breast milk effect an infant's growth and health, how they impact an infant's brain and behaviour, some key issues of mammary gland biology and, finally, how milk research can help infants born pre-term to obese or undernourished moms. Read More...

Milk-fed bacteria’s secret weapon

Milk-fed bacteria's secret weapon

If a bacterium walks into a Bar & Grill, what does he order to eat? If there are any simple sugar molecules on the menu, such as glucose, galactose, or mannose, then he’ll order a plate of them. But given these simple sugars are the first choice of pretty much any type of bacteria, the Bacteria’s Bar & Grill is likely to run out quickly. Read More...

The Many Faces of Lactoferrin

Fresh out of the womb, a newborn baby is challenged with armies of disease-causing microbes. How does he survive this onslaught? In some parts of the world, he doesn't. Millions of babies die each year in the first few months of life from common infections. A recent publication by Barboza and colleagues unfolds how a major milk protein, lactoferrin, displays different "faces", depending on which pathogens are present. Read More...

The “ripened cheese” treatment for obesity and diabetes

Brie cheese lovers everywhere have reason to rejoice. Researchers from the University Catholique de Louvain in Belgium have found that eating ripened cheese decreases blood sugar levels and fat tissue in obese/diabetic mice. Read More...

Dinosaur aunts, bacterial stowaways, and insect milk

Dinosaur aunts, bacterial stowaways, and insect milk

Milk is everywhere. From the dairy aisle at the grocery store to the explosive cover of the Mother's Day issue of Time magazine, the ubiquity of milk makes it easy to take for granted. But surprisingly, milk synthesis is evolutionarily older than mammals. Milk is even older than dinosaurs. Read More...

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