Mi Young Yoon,a Kang-Mu Lee,a Yujin Yoon,a,b Junhyeok Go,a,b Yongjin Park,a Yong-Joon Cho,d Gerald W. Tannock,e Sang Sun Yoona,b,c
Department of Microbiology,a
Brain Korea 21 Project for Medical Sciences,b
Institute for Immunology and Immunological Diseases, Yonsei University College of Medicine,c Seoul, Republic of Korea;
ChunLab, Inc., Seoul, Republic of Koread;
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealande
Address correspondence to Sang Sun Yoon.
Evidence suggests that gut microbes colonize the mammalian intestine through propagation as an adhesive microbial community. A bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library of murine bowel microbiota DNA in the surrogate host Escherichia coli DH10B was screened for enhanced adherence capability. Two out of 5,472 DH10B clones, 10G6 and 25G1, exhibited enhanced capabilities to adhere to inanimate surfaces in functional screens. DNA segments inserted into the 10G6 and 25G1 clones were 52 and 41 kb and included 47 and 41 protein-coding open reading frames (ORFs), respectively. DNA sequence alignments, tetranucleotide frequency, and codon usage analysis strongly suggest that these two DNA fragments are derived from species belonging to the genus Bacteroides. Consistent with this finding, a large portion of the predicted gene products were highly homologous to those of Bacteroides spp. Transposon mutagenesis and subsequent experiments that involved heterologous expression identified two operons associated with enhanced adherence. E. coli strains transformed with the 10a or 25b operon adhered to the surface of intestinal epithelium and colonized the mouse intestine more vigorously than did the control strain. This study has revealed the genetic determinants of unknown commensals (probably resembling Bacteroides species) that enhance the ability of the bacteria to colonize the murine bowel.