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Muri, Switzerland

Stecher B.,ETH Zurich | Chaffron S.,Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics | Kappeli R.,ETH Zurich | Hapfelmeier S.,Gastroenterology Inselspital | And 11 more authors.
PLoS Pathogens

The intestinal ecosystem is formed by a complex, yet highly characteristic microbial community. The parameters defining whether this community permits invasion of a new bacterial species are unclear. In particular, inhibition of enteropathogen infection by the gut microbiota (= colonization resistance) is poorly understood. To analyze the mechanisms of microbiotamediated protection from Salmonella enterica induced enterocolitis, we used a mouse infection model and large scale highthroughput pyrosequencing. In contrast to conventional mice (CON), mice with a gut microbiota of low complexity (LCM) were highly susceptible to S. enterica induced colonization and enterocolitis. Colonization resistance was partially restored in LCM-animals by co-housing with conventional mice for 21 days (LCMcon21). 16S rRNA sequence analysis comparing LCM, LCMcon21 and CON gut microbiota revealed that gut microbiota complexity increased upon conventionalization and correlated with increased resistance to S. enterica infection. Comparative microbiota analysis of mice with varying degrees of colonization resistance allowed us to identify intestinal ecosystem characteristics associated with susceptibility to S. enterica infection. Moreover, this system enabled us to gain further insights into the general principles of gut ecosystem invasion by non-pathogenic, commensal bacteria. Mice harboring high commensal E. coli densities were more susceptible to S. enterica induced gut inflammation. Similarly, mice with high titers of Lactobacilli were more efficiently colonized by a commensal Lactobacillus reuteri RR strain after oral inoculation. Upon examination of 16S rRNA sequence data from 9 CON mice we found that closely related phylotypes generally display significantly correlated abundances (co-occurrence), more so than distantly related phylotypes. Thus, in essence, the presence of closely related species can increase the chance of invasion of newly incoming species into the gut ecosystem. We provide evidence that this principle might be of general validity for invasion of bacteria in preformed gut ecosystems. This might be of relevance for human enteropathogen infections as well as therapeutic use of probiotic commensal bacteria. © 2010 Stecher et al. Source

Endt K.,ETH Zurich | Stecher B.,ETH Zurich | Chaffron S.,Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics | Slack E.,Gastroenterology Inselspital | And 12 more authors.
PLoS Pathogens

Many enteropathogenic bacteria target the mammalian gut. The mechanisms protecting the host from infection are poorly understood. We have studied the protective functions of secretory antibodies (sIgA) and the microbiota, using a mouse model for S. typhimurium diarrhea. This pathogen is a common cause of diarrhea in humans world-wide. S. typhimurium (S. tmatt, sseD) causes a self-limiting gut infection in streptomycin-treated mice. After 40 days, all animals had overcome the disease, developed a sIgA response, and most had cleared the pathogen from the gut lumen. sIgA limited pathogen access to the mucosal surface and protected from gut inflammation in challenge infections. This protection was O-antigen specific, as demonstrated with pathogens lacking the S. typhimurium O-antigen (wbaP, S. enteritidis) and sIgA-deficient mice (TCRβ-/-δ-/-, JH -/-, IgA-/-, pIgR-/-). Surprisingly, sIgA-deficiency did not affect the kinetics of pathogen clearance from the gut lumen. Instead, this was mediated by the microbiota. This was confirmed using 'L-mice' which harbor a low complexity gut flora, lack colonization resistance and develop a normal sIgA response, but fail to clear S. tmatt from the gut lumen. In these mice, pathogen clearance was achieved by transferring a normal complex microbiota. Thus, besides colonization resistance (=pathogen blockage by an intact microbiota),the microbiota mediates a second, novel protective function, i.e. pathogen clearance. Here, the normal microbiota re-grows from a state of depletion and disturbed composition and gradually clears even very high pathogen loads from the gut lumen, a site inaccessible to most "classical" immune effector mechanisms. In conclusion, sIgA and microbiota serve complementary protective functions. The microbiota confers colonization resistance and mediates pathogen clearance in primary infections, while sIgA protects from disease if the host re-encounters the same pathogen. This has implications for curing S. typhimurium diarrhea and for preventing transmission. © 2010 Endt et al. Source

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