Bifidobacterium breve UCC2003 surface exopolysaccharide production is a beneficial trait mediating commensal-host interaction through immune modulation and pathogen protection

Saranna Fanning, Lindsay J. Hall, Douwe van Sinderen

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Bifidobacteria constitute a substantial proportion of the human gut microbiota. There are currently many bifidobacterial strains with claimed probiotic attributes. The mechanism through which these strains reside within their host and exert benefits to the host is far from fully understood. We have shown in the case of Bifidobacterium breve UCC2003 that a cell surface exopolysaccharide (EPS) plays a role in in vivo persistence. Biosynthesis of two possible EPSs is controlled by a bidirectional gene cluster which guides alternate EPS synthesis by means of a reorienting promoter. The presence of EPS impacts on host immune response: the wild type, EPS-positive B. breve UCC2003 efficiently evades the adaptive B-cell host response, while its isogenic, EPS-deficient equivalent elicits a strong adaptive immune response. Functionally, EPS positive strains were more resilient to presence of acid and bile and were responsible for reduced colonization levels of Citrobacter rodentium, a gut pathogen. In conclusion, we have found that EPS is important in host interactions and pathogen protection, the latter indicative of a probiotic ability for the EPS of B. breve UCC2003.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)420-425
Number of pages6
JournalGut Microbes
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012

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