Improved adhesive properties of recombinant bifidobacteria expressing the Bifidobacterium bifidum-specific lipoprotein BopA
1 Institute of Microbiology and Biotechnology, University of Ulm, 89069, Ulm, Germany
2 Institute of Disease Control and Prevention, Academy of Military Medical Sciences, Beijing, China
Microbial Cell Factories 2012, 11:80 doi:10.1186/1475-2859-11-80Published: 13 June 2012
Bifidobacteria belong to one of the predominant bacterial groups in the intestinal microbiota of infants and adults. Several beneficial effects on the health status of their human hosts have been demonstrated making bifidobacteria interesting candidates for probiotic applications. Adhesion of probiotics to the intestinal epithelium is discussed as a prerequisite for colonisation of and persistence in the gastrointestinal tract.
In the present study, 15 different strains of bifidobacteria were tested for adhesion. B. bifidum was identified as the species showing highest adhesion to all tested intestinal epithelial cell (IEC) lines. Adhesion of B. bifidum S17 to IECs was strongly reduced after treatment of bacteria with pronase. These results strongly indicate that a proteinaceous cell surface component mediates adhesion of B. bifidum S17 to IECs. In silico analysis of the currently accessible Bifidobacterium genomes identified bopA encoding a lipoprotein as a B. bifidum-specific gene previously shown to function as an adhesin of B. bifidum MIMBb75. The in silico results were confirmed by Southern Blot analysis. Furthermore, Northern Blot analysis demonstrated that bopA is expressed in all B. bifidum strains tested under conditions used to cultivate bacteria for adhesion assays. The BopA gene was successfully expressed in E. coli and purified by Ni-NTA affinity chromatography as a C-terminal His6-fusion. Purified BopA had an inhibitory effect on adhesion of B. bifidum S17 to IECs. Moreover, bopA was successfully expressed in B. bifidum S17 and B. longum/infantis E18. Strains overexpressing bopA showed enhanced adhesion to IECs, clearly demonstrating a role of BopA in adhesion of B. bifidum strains.
BopA was identified as a B. bifidum-specific protein involved in adhesion to IECs. Bifidobacterium strains expressing bopA show enhanced adhesion. Our results represent the first report on recombinant bifidobacteria with improved adhesive properties.