• The host response to the probiotic Escherichia coli strain Nissle 1917: specific up-regulation of the proinflammatory chemokine MCP-1.

      Ukena, Sya N; Westendorf, Astrid M; Hansen, Wiebke; Rohde, Manfred; Geffers, Robert; Coldewey, Sina; Suerbaum, Sebastian; Buer, Jan; Gunzer, Florian; German Research Centre for Biotechnology, Mucosal Immunity Group, Mascheroder Weg 1, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. suk@gbf.de (2005)
      BACKGROUND: The use of live microorganisms to influence positively the course of intestinal disorders such as infectious diarrhea or chronic inflammatory conditions has recently gained increasing interest as a therapeutic alternative. In vitro and in vivo investigations have demonstrated that probiotic-host eukaryotic cell interactions evoke a large number of responses potentially responsible for the effects of probiotics. The aim of this study was to improve our understanding of the E. coli Nissle 1917-host interaction by analyzing the gene expression pattern initiated by this probiotic in human intestinal epithelial cells. METHODS: Gene expression profiles of Caco-2 cells treated with E. coli Nissle 1917 were analyzed with microarrays. A second human intestinal cell line and also pieces of small intestine from BALB/c mice were used to confirm regulatory data of selected genes by real-time RT-PCR and cytometric bead array (CBA) to detect secretion of corresponding proteins. RESULTS: Whole genome expression analysis revealed 126 genes specifically regulated after treatment of confluent Caco-2 cells with E. coli Nissle 1917. Among others, expression of genes encoding the proinflammatory molecules monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 ligand 2 (MCP-1), macrophage inflammatory protein-2 alpha (MIP-2alpha) and macrophage inflammatory protein-2 beta (MIP-2beta) was increased up to 10 fold. Caco-2 cells cocultured with E. coli Nissle 1917 also secreted high amounts of MCP-1 protein. Elevated levels of MCP-1 and MIP-2alpha mRNA could be confirmed with Lovo cells. MCP-1 gene expression was also up-regulated in mouse intestinal tissue. CONCLUSION: Thus, probiotic E. coli Nissle 1917 specifically upregulates expression of proinflammatory genes and proteins in human and mouse intestinal epithelial cells.
    • Impact of the rpoS genotype for acid resistance patterns of pathogenic and probiotic Escherichia coli.

      Coldewey, Sina M; Hartmann, Maike; Schmidt, Dorothea S; Engelking, Uta; Ukena, Sya N; Gunzer, Florian; Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hospital Epidemiology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany. sina.coldewey@web.de <sina.coldewey@web.de> (2007)
      BACKGROUND: Enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC), a subgroup of Shiga toxin (Stx) producing E. coli (STEC), may cause severe enteritis and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and is transmitted orally via contaminated foods or from person to person. The infectious dose is known to be very low, which requires most of the bacteria to survive the gastric acid barrier. Acid resistance therefore is an important mechanism of EHEC virulence. It should also be a relevant characteristic of E. coli strains used for therapeutic purposes such as the probiotic E. coli Nissle 1917 (EcN). In E. coli and related enteric bacteria it has been extensively demonstrated, that the alternative sigma factor sigmaS, encoded by the rpoS gene, acts as a master regulator mediating resistance to various environmental stress factors. METHODS: Using rpoS deletion mutants of a highly virulent EHEC O26:H11 patient isolate and the sequenced prototype EHEC EDL933 (ATCC 700927) of serotype O157:H7 we investigated the impact of a functional rpoS gene for orchestrating a satisfactory response to acid stress in these strains. We then functionally characterized rpoS of probiotic EcN and five rpoS genes selected from STEC isolates pre-investigated for acid resistance. RESULTS: First, we found out that ATCC isolate 700927 of EHEC EDL933 has a point mutation in rpoS, not present in the published sequence, leading to a premature stop codon. Moreover, to our surprise, one STEC strain as well as EcN was acid sensitive in our test environment, although their cloned rpoS genes could effectively complement acid sensitivity of an rpoS deletion mutant. CONCLUSION: The attenuation of sequenced EHEC EDL933 might be of importance for anyone planning to do either in vitro or in vivo studies with this prototype strain. Furthermore our data supports recently published observations, that individual E. coli isolates are able to significantly modulate their acid resistance phenotype independent of their rpoS genotype.
    • Probiotic Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 inhibits leaky gut by enhancing mucosal integrity.

      Ukena, Sya N; Singh, Anurag; Dringenberg, Ulrike; Engelhardt, Regina; Seidler, Ursula; Hansen, Wiebke; Bleich, André; Bruder, Dunja; Franzke, Anke; Rogler, Gerhard; et al. (2007)
      BACKGROUND: Probiotics are proposed to positively modulate the intestinal epithelial barrier formed by intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) and intercellular junctions. Disruption of this border alters paracellular permeability and is a key mechanism for the development of enteric infections and inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs). METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: To study the in vivo effect of probiotic Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 (EcN) on the stabilization of the intestinal barrier under healthy conditions, germfree mice were colonized with EcN or K12 E. coli strain MG1655. IECs were isolated and analyzed for gene and protein expression of the tight junction molecules ZO-1 and ZO-2. Then, in order to analyze beneficial effects of EcN under inflammatory conditions, the probiotic was orally administered to BALB/c mice with acute dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) induced colitis. Colonization of gnotobiotic mice with EcN resulted in an up-regulation of ZO-1 in IECs at both mRNA and protein levels. EcN administration to DSS-treated mice reduced the loss of body weight and colon shortening. In addition, infiltration of the colon with leukocytes was ameliorated in EcN inoculated mice. Acute DSS colitis did not result in an anion secretory defect, but abrogated the sodium absorptive function of the mucosa. Additionally, intestinal barrier function was severely affected as evidenced by a strong increase in the mucosal uptake of Evans blue in vivo. Concomitant administration of EcN to DSS treated animals resulted in a significant protection against intestinal barrier dysfunction and IECs isolated from these mice exhibited a more pronounced expression of ZO-1. CONCLUSION AND SIGNIFICANCE: This study convincingly demonstrates that probiotic EcN is able to mediate up-regulation of ZO-1 expression in murine IECs and confer protection from the DSS colitis-associated increase in mucosal permeability to luminal substances.
    • Sensitivity to Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 in mice is dependent on environment and genetic background.

      Bleich, Andre; Sundberg, John P; Smoczek, Anna; von Wasielewski, Reinhard; de Buhr, Maike F; Janus, Lydia M; Julga, Gwen; Ukena, Sya N; Hedrich, Hans-J; Gunzer, Florian; et al. (2008-02)
      Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 (EcN) is a well-characterized probiotic bacterium. Although genomic comparisons of EcN with the uropathogenic E. coli strain CFT073 revealed high degrees of similarity, EcN is generally considered a non-pathogenic organism. However, as recent evidence suggests that EcN is capable of inducing inflammatory responses in host intestinal epithelial cells, we aimed to investigate potential pathogenic properties of EcN in an in vivo model using various germ-free (GF) mouse strains. With the exception of C3H/HeJZtm mice, which carry a defective toll-like receptor (TLR)4-allele, no lesions were obvious in mice of different strains orally inoculated with EcN for 1 week, although organ cultures (blood, lung, mesenteric lymph node, pancreas, spleen, liver and kidney) tested positive to various degrees. C3H/HeJZtm mice inoculated with EcN became clinically ill and the majority died or had to be euthanized. Organs of all gnotobiotic C3H/HeJZtm mice were positive for EcN by culture; major histological findings were moderate to severe pyogranulomatous serositis, typhlitis and pancreatitis. Histological findings were corroborated by highly elevated tumour necrosis factor (TNF) serum levels. Lesions were not detected in specified pathogen free maintained C3H/HeJZtm mice, GF C3H/HeJ mice lacking the interleukin-10 gene, or GF C3H/HeJZtm mice that were inoculated with E. coli K12 strain MG1655 as a control. In addition, mild histological lesions were detected in Ztm:NMRI mice 3 months after oral inoculation with EcN. This study shows that EcN is capable of displaying a virulent phenotype in GF C3H/HeJZtm mice. Whether this phenotype is linked to the bacterium's probiotic nature should be the focus of further studies.