• 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.