Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG Outcompetes Enterococcus faecium via Mucus-Binding Pili: Evidence for a Novel and Heterospecific Probiotic Mechanism

Hanne L.P. Tytgat*, François P. Douillard, Justus Reunanen, Pia Rasinkangas, Antoni P.A. Hendrickx, Pia K. Laine, Lars Paulin, Reetta Satokari, Willem M. de Vos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) have become a major nosocomial threat. Enterococcus faecium is of special concern, as it can easily acquire new antibiotic resistances and is an excellent colonizer of the human intestinal tract. Several clinical studies have explored the potential use of beneficial bacteria to weed out opportunistic pathogens. Specifically, the widely studied Lactobacillus rhamnosus strain GG has been applied successfully in the context of VRE infections. Here, we provide new insight into the molecular mechanism underlying the effects of this model probiotic on VRE decolonization. Both clinical VRE isolates and L. rhamnosus GG express pili on their cell walls, which are the key modulators of their highly efficient colonization of the intestinal mucosa. We found that one of the VRE pilus clusters shares considerable sequence similarity with the SpaCBA-SrtC1 pilus cluster of L. rhamnosus GG. Remarkable immunological and functional similarities were discovered between the mucus-binding pili of L. rhamnosus GG and those of the clinical E. faecium strain E1165, which was characterized at the genome level. Moreover, E. faecium strain E1165 bound efficiently to mucus, which may be prevented by the presence of the mucus-binding SpaC protein or antibodies against L. rhamnosus GG or SpaC. These results present experimental support for a novel probiotic mechanism, in which the mucus-binding pili of L. rhamnosus GG prevent the binding of a potential pathogen to the host. Hence, we provide a molecular basis for the further exploitation of L. rhamnosus GG and its pilins for prophylaxis and treatment of VRE infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5756-5762
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Volume82
Issue number19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG Outcompetes Enterococcus faecium via Mucus-Binding Pili: Evidence for a Novel and Heterospecific Probiotic Mechanism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this