Microbes, Models And Mucins: Modelling Host-Microbe Interactions At The Intestinal Mucus Layer In Vitro
Our intestines are densely colonized by bacteria, which contribute to our health. Some of them live in the mucus layer, a slimy substance covering our intestinal cells. These bacteria convert mucus to compounds that are valuable for other bacteria as well as our intestinal cells. To understand what these bacteria are exactly doing in there, scientists rely heavily on models. This thesis discusses the current use of animal (in vivo) and cellular (in vitro) models to study the cross-talk between mucus-degrading bacteria and our intestinal cells. We re-emphasize that the design and reporting of such models can still be improved. Moreover, we further clarify the mechanisms by which intestinal cells produce more mucus in a lab setting, with and without the presence of a professional mucus-degrader: Akkermansia muciniphila. Lastly, we provide novel insight into the conditions under which this microbe to bind to mucus and thus, potentially, how it stays in our densely populated intestines.