Understanding small molecule uptake by the Bacteroidetes  


  • Prof Bert Van Den Berg

    Newcastle University

Project summary

The human gut microbiota is the collective of microorganisms that inhibits our gastrointestinal tract. It is becoming clear that this ‘bacterial organ’ affects virtually all aspects of human health in a profound way. Microbiota function is dependent on its composition, which in turn depends on the ability of bacteria to acquire small-molecule nutrients. Bacteria from the dominant phylum Bacteroidetes have an outer membrane (OM) surrounding the cell that forms a very efficient barrier for the passage of small molecules. Bacteroidetes require OM transport proteins for the uptake of nutrients. 

We will determine which OM proteins are present in Bacteroidetes and how nutrients are taken up. 

Understanding nutrient uptake by what is arguably the most important group of gut bacteria will inspire strategies to manipulate the composition of the gut microbiota to improve human health.