Mucin-Degrading Microbes Release Monosaccharides That Chemoattract Clostridioides difficile and Facilitate Colonization of the Human Intestinal Mucus Layer

Melinda A. Engevik, Amy C. Engevik, Kristen A. Engevik, Jennifer M. Auchtung, Alexandra L. Chang-Graham, Wenly Ruan, Ruth Ann Luna, Joseph M. Hyser, Jennifer K. Spinler, James Versalovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

It is widely accepted that the pathogen Clostridioides difficile exploits an intestinal environment with an altered microbiota, but the details of these microbe-microbe interactions are unclear. Adherence and colonization of mucus has been demonstrated for several enteric pathogens and it is possible that mucin-associated microbes may be working in concert with C. difficile. We showed that C. difficile ribotype-027 adheres to MUC2 glycans and using fecal bioreactors, we identified that C. difficile associates with several mucin-degrading microbes. C. difficile was found to chemotax toward intestinal mucus and its glycan components, demonstrating that C. difficile senses the mucus layer. Although C. difficile lacks the glycosyl hydrolases required to degrade mucin glycans, coculturing C. difficile with the mucin-degrading Akkermansia muciniphila, Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, and Ruminococcus torques allowed C. difficile to grow in media that lacked glucose but contained purified MUC2. Collectively, these studies expand our knowledge on how intestinal microbes support C. difficile.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalACS Infectious Diseases
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Akkermansia
  • Bacteroides
  • Clostridioides difficile
  • glycans
  • MUC2
  • Rumminococcus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases

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