Probiotic strains detect and suppress cholera in mice.
Mao N, Cubillos-Ruiz A, Cameron DE, Collins JJ
Sci Transl Med. Jun 2018
COMMENT: This is a very imaginative work in which the authors use Lactococcus lactis bacteria for cholera detection and treatment. They use natural Lactococcus lactis (present in cheese and butter) to inhibit Vibrio cholera via lactic acid production, and engineered Lactococcus lactis to detect Vibrio cholera using an enzymatic reporter gene that produces red colored feces when it detects a molecule (CAI-1) involved in Vibrio cholera quorum sensing mechanisms. It allows detecting, at a very initial state, the patients with cholera and, at the same time, treating the disease via the lactic acid produced by natural Lactococcus lactis that is also included in the used probiotic mix.
This a good idea and a very new strategy for sensitive and easy to use detection joined to a preventive and even curative treatment. Until now probiotics have been used to promote gastrointestinal homeostasis but this strategy also opens a possible intervention in severe acute infections. In this case the infection was cholera but similar strategies could be designed for other infections using similar "living diagnostic&treatment tools".
We also hope that based on this original strategy new tools for fighting against important acute infections can be designed, as the authors postulated about their work:
We postulate that preventive dietary interventions with fermented foods containing natural and engineered L. lactis strains may hinder cholera progression and improve disease surveillance in populations at risk of cholera outbreaks.