Aggregative adherence fimbriae II of enteroaggregative Escherichia coli are required for adherence and barrier disruption during infection of human colonoids

Laura A. Gonyar, Rachel M. Smith, Jorge A. Giron, Nicholas C. Zachos, Fernando Ruiz-Perez, James P. Nataro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Symptomatic and asymptomatic infection with the diarrheal pathogen enteroaggregative Escherichia coli (EAEC) is associated with growth faltering in children in developing settings. The mechanism of this association is unknown, emphasizing a need for better understanding of the interactions between EAEC and the human gastrointestinal mucosa. In this study, we investigated the role of the aggregative adherence fimbriae II (AAF/II) in EAEC adherence and pathogenesis using human colonoids and duodenal enteroids. We found that a null mutant in aafA, the major subunit of AAF/II, adhered significantly less than wild-type (WT) EAEC strain 042, and adherence was restored in a complemented strain. Immunofluorescence confocal microscopy of differentiated colonoids, which produce an intact mucus layer comprised of the secreted mucin MUC2, revealed bacteria at the epithelial surface and within the MUC2 layer. The WT strain adhered to the epithelial surface, whereas the aafA deletion strain remained within the MUC2 layer, suggesting that the presence or absence of AAF/II determines both the abundance and location of EAEC adherence. In order to determine the consequences of EAEC adherence on epithelial barrier integrity, colonoid monolayers were exposed to EAEC constructs expressing or lacking aafA. Colonoids infected with WT EAEC had significantly decreased epithelial resistance, an effect that required AAF/II, suggesting that binding of EAEC to the epithelium is necessary to impair barrier function. In summary, we show that production of AAF/II is critical for adherence and barrier disruption in human colonoids, suggesting a role for this virulence factor in EAEC colonization of the gastrointestinal mucosa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00176-20
JournalInfection and immunity
Volume88
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2020

Keywords

  • Adherence
  • Aggregative
  • Barrier disruption
  • Colonoid
  • Escherichia coli
  • Fimbriae
  • Organoid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases

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