As predominant intestinal symbiotic bacteria, Bacteroides are essential in maintaining the health of the normal mammalian host; in return, the host provides a niche with plentiful nutrients for the symbionts. However, the intestinal environment is replete with chemical, physical, and biological challenges that require mechanisms for prompt and adept sensing of and responses to stress if the bacteria are to survive. Herein we propose that to persist in the intestine Bacteroides take advantage of their unusual bacterial sphingolipids to mediate signaling pathways previously known to be available only to higher organisms. Sphingolipids convey diverse signal transduction and stress response pathways and have profound physiological impacts demonstrated in a variety of eukaryotic cell types. We propose a mechanism by which the formation of specific sphingolipid membrane microdomains initiates signaling cascades that facilitate survival strategies within the bacteria. Our preliminary data suggest that sphingolipid signaling plays an important role in Bacteroides physiology, enabling these bacteria to persist in the intestine and to perform other functions related to symbiosis.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Issue number||SUPPL. 1|
|State||Published - Mar 15 2011|
- Bacterial sphingolipids
- Lipid rafts
- Stress response