S-layer protein 2 of 'Lactobacillus crispatus' 2029, its structural and immunomodulatory characteristics and roles in protective potential of the whole bacteria against foodborne pathogens

Abramov, Vyacheslav M., Kosarev, Igor V., Priputnevich, Tatiana V., Machulin, Andrey V., Khlebnikov, Valentin S., Pchelintsev, Sergey Yu, Vasilenko, Rasia N., Sakulin, Vadim K., Suzina, Natalia E., Chikileva, Irina O., Derysheva, Evgenia I., Melnikov, Vyacheslav G., Nikonov, Ilya N., Samoilenko, Vladimir A., Svetoch, Eduard E., Sukhikh, Gennady T., Uversky, Vladimir N. and Karlyshev, Andrey V. (2020) S-layer protein 2 of 'Lactobacillus crispatus' 2029, its structural and immunomodulatory characteristics and roles in protective potential of the whole bacteria against foodborne pathogens. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, 150, pp. 400-412. ISSN (print) 0141-8130


We have previously demonstrated that human vaginal Lactobacillus crispatus 2029 (LC2029) strain is highly adhesive to cervicovaginal epithelial cells, exhibits antagonistic activity against genitourinary pathogens and expresses surface-layer protein (Slp). The aims of the present study were elucidation of Slp structural and immunomodulatory characteristics and its roles in protective properties of the whole vaginal LC2029 bacteria against foodborne pathogens. Enteric Caco-2 and colon HT-29 cell lines were used as the in vitro models of the human intestinal epithelial layer. LC2029 strain has two homologous surface-layer (S-layer) genes, slp1 and slp2. Whilst we found no evidence for the expression of slp1 under the growth conditions used, a very high level of expression of the slp2 gene was detected. C-terminal part of the amino sequence of Slp2 protein was found to be highly similar to that of the conserved C-terminal region of SlpA protein of L. crispatus Zj001 isolated from pig intestines and CbsA protein of L. crispatus JCM5810 isolated from chicken intestines, and was substantially variable at the N-terminal and middle regions. The amino acid sequence identity between SlpA and CbsA was as high as 84%, whilst the identity levels of these sequences with that of Slp2 were only 49% and 50% (respectively). LC2029 strain was found to be both acid and bile tolerant. Survival in simulated gastric and intestinal juices of LC2029 cells unable to produce Slp2 was reduced by 2-3 logs. Vaginal L. crispatus 1385 (LC1385) strain not expressing Slp was also very sensitive to gastric and intestinal stresses. Slp2 was found to be non-covalently bound to the surface of the bacterium, acting as an adhesin and facilitating interaction of LC2029 lactobacilli with the host immature or fully differentiated Caco-2 cells, as well as HT-29 cells. No toxicity to or damage of Caco-2 or HT-29 epithelial cells were detected after 24 h of colonization by LC2029 lactobacilli. Both Slp2 protein and LC2029 cells induced NF-kB activation in Caco-2 and HT-29 cells, but did not induce expression of innate immunity mediators Il-8, Il-1β, and TNF-α. Slp2 and LC2029 inhibited Il-8 production in Caco-2 and HT-29 cells induced by MALP-2 and increased production of anti-inflammatory cytokine Il-6. Slp2 inhibited production of CXCL1 and RANTES by Caco-2 cells during differentiation and maturation process within 15 days. Culturing Caco-2 and HT-29 cells in the presence of Slp2 increased adhesion of bifidobacteria BLI-2780 to these enterocytes. Upon binding to Caco-2 and HT-29 cells, Slp2 protein and LC2029 lactobacilli were recognized by toll-like receptors (TLR) 2/6. It was shown that LC2029 strain is a strong co-aggregator of foodborne pathogens Campylobacter jejuni, Salmonella enteritidis, and Escherichia coli O157:H used in this study. The Slp2 was responsible for the ability of LC2029 to co-aggregate these enteropathogens. Slp2 and intact LC2029 lactobacilli inhibited foodborne pathogen-induced activation of caspase-9 and caspase-3 as apoptotic biomarkers in Caco-2 and HT-29 cells. In addition, Slp2 and Slp2-positive LC2029 strain reduced adhesion of tested pathogenic bacteria to Caco-2 and HT-29 cells. Slp2-positive LC2029 strain but not Slp2 alone provided bactericidal effect on foodborne pathogens. These results suggest a range of mechanisms involved in inhibition of growth, viability, and cell adhesion properties of pathogenic Proteobacteria by the Slp2 producing LC2029, which may be useful in treatment of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in newborns and foodborne infectious diseases in children and adults, increasing the colonization resistance and maintaining the intestinal homeostasis.

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