About this Research Topic
Probiotics are becoming increasingly popular and widely consumed worldwide. However, the term “probiotics” is extremely broad considering it encompasses a variety of microorganisms with a range of beneficial effects. The use of probiotics spans across centuries, from their historical functionality in food fermentation to the recently recognized potential for attenuation of different disorders through their effects on the human microbiome. Study of the latter has been influenced by the growing appreciation of the importance of gut microbiota to host health and the recognition that many disorders may arise from disruption of that microbiota. In addition to the therapeutic applications of probiotics in the treatment of metabolic disorders, which are characterized by dysbiosis of intestinal microbiota located in the gastrointestinal tract, new therapies are being explored, including treatment of disorders that are seemingly unrelated to the gastrointestinal region (e.g., neurodegenerative disease).
Though probiotic strains have been extensively investigated, the mechanistic basis of their health-promoting effects remains unclear. Therefore, the aim of this Research Topic is to gather the recent research related to the characterization of potential probiotic trigger molecules. In particular, we welcome studies on structural and/or functional characterization of surface-exposed cell components (such as S-layer proteins, pili, lipoteichoic acid, etc.) or those released in the microenvironment (such as exopolysaccharides); these particular cellular compounds are the first to interact with the strain-producer microenvironment. In addition, research related to certain intracellular enzymes (e.g., proteases, bile salt hydrolases, etc.), specific biomolecules (such as bacteriocins), or widely synthesized products with the potential to act as probiotic trigger molecules will also be welcomed.
This Research Topic invites:
• Methods and advances in the screening and identification of novel probiotics or the production of target probiotic trigger biomolecules
• Mechanistic studies of the above-mentioned biomolecules and cellular components, including an evaluation of their importance in cell-to-cell or cell-to-host interactions and their biological role in the functional properties of probiotic strains (e.g., protective roles after exposure in a variety of stress conditions, immunomodulatory activity, antimicrobial activity, adhesion, etc.)
• Characterizations of the strain-producers, which express the specific biomolecules that confer beneficial effects, and their potential to modulate the microbiome composition
• Possible biotechnological applications, either of strain-producers or purified biomolecules
This Research Topic will compile high-quality publications on probiotic trigger molecules, which will open avenues for future research related to both traditional food fermentation and novel applications of strain-producers as promising living drugs.
Keywords: Probiotics, functional biomolecules, functionaliy, microbiota
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.