Role of sortase-dependent pili of Bifidobacterium bifidum PRL2010 in modulating bacterium-host interactions

Role of sortase-dependent pili of Bifidobacterium bifidum PRL2010 in modulating bacterium-host interactions

Francesca Turronia, Fausta Serafinib,c, Elena Foronib,c, Sabrina Durantib,c, Mary O’Connel Motherwaya, Valentina Tavernitid, Marta Mangifestab,c, Christian Milanib,c, Alice Viappianib,c, Tommaso Roversid, Borja Sancheze, Andra Santonic, Laura Gioiosaf, Alberto Ferrarinig, Massimo Delledonneg, Abelardo Margollese, Laura Piazzad, Paola Palanzaf, Angelo Bolchic, Simone Guglielmettid, Douwe van Sinderena, and Marco Venturab,c
a. Department of Microbiology, Alimentary Pharmabiotic Center, Bioscience Institure, National University of Ireland, Cork, Ireland;
b. Laboratory of Probiogenomics,
c. Department of Life Science, and
d. Department of Food, Environmental, and Nutritional Sciences, University of Milan, 20133 Milan, Italy;
e. Departamento de Microbiologia y Bioquimica de Productos Lacteos, Instituto de Productos Lacteos de Asturias, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Villaviciosa, 3300 Asturias, Spain, and
f. Department of Biotechnology, Functional Genomic Center, University of Verona, 37134 Verona, Italy  


Bifidobacteria represent one of the dominant groups of microorganisms colonizing the human infant intestine. Commensal bacteria that interact with a eukaryotic host are believed to express adhesive molecules on their cell surface that bind to specific host cell receptors or soluble macromolecules. Whole-genome transcription profiling of Bifidobacterium bifidum PRL2010, a strain isolated from infant stool, revealed a small number of commonly expressed extracellular proteins, among which were genes that specify sortase-dependent pili. Expression of the coding sequences of these B. bifidum PRL2010 appendages in nonpiliated Lactococcus lactis enhanced adherence to human enterocytes through extracellular matrix protein and bacterial aggregation. Furthermore, such piliated L. lactis cells evoked a higher TNF-α response during murine colonization compared with their nonpiliated parent, suggesting that bifidobacterial sortase-dependent pili not only contribute to adherence but also display immunomodulatory activity.


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