Back in the lab! Hope to spend a lot of time here in the coming weeks. My program is getting busier in October so I hope I can get a lot done before that. On my experimental wishlist:
-Study Gardnerella vaginalis and Lactobacillus iners growth on glycogen and starch breakdown. For this I need to be able to create more strict anaerobic conditions then the growth protocols I am using now since these species seem to be more sensitive to oxygen. Let’s see if we can arrange that in the lab.
-Further compare glycogen consumers and “non-consuming” strains of L. crispatus. To be able to make this comparison I will need to find growth conditions in which I get expression of the gene, but growth of both consumers and non-consumers. Alicia told me that maltose, maltotriose or maltopentaose may do the trick. The precise mechanisms of this induction of expression (?, or whatever it may be) are interesting and may have in vivo relevance, but have low priority. I just want to compare the strains, but no growth (of the non-consuming strains on glycogen) means no pellet and no bacteria to use as a comparison! I will start with maltose, and have ordered maltotriose. These experiments will also be useful to get more replicates for the growth data in the previous blog.
-Alicia also told me more about the differences between amylose and amylopectin in starch. This may explain why we only saw partial breakdown of starch in activity assay of L. crispatus. If we are able to differentiate between amylose and amylopectin utilization, we may also learn more about the exact activity and ways to use this as a target for therapeutic approaches.
-At some point I really need to make an overview on what is actually known about glycans in the human vagina. What techniques and stains were used in the different studies sofar to characterize the glycans?