Received March 28, 2017; Revision received July 7, 2017
Formation of appropriate gut microbiota is essential for human health. The first two years of life is the critical period for this process. Selection of mutualistic microorganisms of the intestinal microbiota is controlled by the FUT2 and FUT3 genes that encode fucosyltransferases, enzymes responsible for the synthesis of fucosylated glycan structures of mucins and milk oligosaccharides. In this review, the mechanisms of the selection and maintenance of intestinal microorganisms that involve fucosylated oligosaccharides of breast milk and mucins of the newborn’s intestine are described. Possible reasons for the use of fucose, and not sialic acid, as the major biological signal for the selection are also discussed.
KEY WORDS: intestinal microbiota, FUT2 and FUT3 genes, fucosyltransferases, fucose, sialic acids, plant polysaccharides, glycotopes