Mucus provides protective functions in the gastrointestinal tract and plays an important role in the adhesion of microorganisms to host surfaces. Mucin glycoproteins polymerize, forming a framework to which certain microbial populations can adhere, including probiotic Lactobacillus species. Numerous mechanisms for adhesion to mucus have been discovered in lactobacilli, including partially characterized mucus binding proteins. These mechanisms vary in importance with the in vitro models studied, which could significantly affect the perceived probiotic potential of the organisms. Understanding the nature of mucus-microbe interactions could be the key to elucidating the mechanisms of probiotic adhesion within the host.
Keywords: adhesion; MUC2; MucBP; binding; lactobacillus; mucin; mucus; probiotics.