Pili-like proteins of Akkermansia muciniphila modulate host immune responses and gut barrier function

Noora Ottman, Justus Reunanen, Marjolein Meijerink, Taija E. Pietila, Veera Kainulainen, Judith Klievink, Laura Huuskonen, Steven Aalvink, Mikael Skurnik, Sjef Boeren, Reetta Satokari, Annick Mercenier, Airi Palva, Hauke Smidt, Willem M. de Vos, Clara Belzer

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Abstract

Gut barrier function is key in maintaining a balanced response between the host and its microbiome. The microbiota can modulate changes in gut barrier as well as metabolic and inflammatory responses. This highly complex system involves numerous microbiota-derived factors. The gut symbiont Akkermansia muciniphila is positively correlated with a lean phenotype, reduced body weight gain, amelioration of metabolic responses and restoration of gut barrier function by modulation of mucus layer thickness. However, the molecular mechanisms behind its metabolic and immunological regulatory properties are unexplored. Herein, we identify a highly abundant outer membrane pili-like protein of A. muciniphila MucT that is directly involved in immune regulation and enhancement of trans-epithelial resistance. The purified Amuc 1100 protein and enrichments containing all its associated proteins induced production of specific cytokines through activation of Toll-like receptor (TLR) 2 and TLR4. This mainly leads to high levels of IL-10 similar to those induced by the other beneficial immune suppressive microorganisms such as Faecalibacterium prausnitzii A2-165 and Lactobacillus plantarum WCFS1. Together these results indicate that outer membrane protein composition and particularly the newly identified highly abundant pili-like protein Amuc-1100 of A. muciniphila are involved in host immunological homeostasis at the gut mucosa, and improvement of gut barrier function.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0173004
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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Ottman, N., Reunanen, J., Meijerink, M., Pietila, T. E., Kainulainen, V., Klievink, J., ... Belzer, C. (2017). Pili-like proteins of Akkermansia muciniphila modulate host immune responses and gut barrier function. PLoS ONE, 12(3), [e0173004]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0173004