Valdivia, David and Colleagues Unlock Secrets of Gut Bacteria Linked to Heart Health

Scientists at Duke University School of Medicine are the first to decode the genetic makeup of Akkermansia, a gut bacterium that could help manage cholesterol levels and be used as a next-generation probiotic.  

In a study published in Nature Microbiology, Duke scientists, along with colleagues at the University of California Berkeley, detail a pioneering five-year journey into genetically engineering Akkermansia.  

Their work is the first to provide a detailed look at the bacterium’s genetic composition and how it degrades mucins to grow and settle in the gut.  

The team, led by senior study author and MGM faculty member Raphael Valdivia, PhD, was able to track how the bacterium consumes mucin, revealing that it binds to the bacterial cell surface and is moved into compartments within the cell in a carefully controlled process.

Click here to read more about the study.