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Propionic Acid Promotes the Virulent Phenotype of Crohn’s Disease-Associated Adherent-Invasive Escherichia coli

Lookup NU author(s): James ConnollyORCiD


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© 2020 The Author(s)The short chain fatty acid propionic acid is a bacterium-derived human intestinal antimicrobial and immune modulator used widely in Western food production and agriculture. Here, Ormsby et al. demonstrate that exposure to propionic acid induces virulence-associated phenotypic changes in Crohn's disease-associated adherent-invasive Escherichia coli (AIEC).© 2020 The Author(s)Propionic acid (PA) is a bacterium-derived intestinal antimicrobial and immune modulator used widely in food production and agriculture. Passage of Crohn's disease-associated adherent-invasive Escherichia coli (AIEC) through a murine model, in which intestinal PA levels are increased to mimic the human intestine, leads to the recovery of AIEC with significantly increased virulence. Similar phenotypic changes are observed outside the murine model when AIEC is grown in culture with PA as the sole carbon source; such PA exposure also results in AIEC that persists at 20-fold higher levels in vivo. RNA sequencing identifies an upregulation of genes involved in biofilm formation, stress response, metabolism, membrane integrity, and alternative carbon source utilization. PA exposure also increases virulence in a number of E. coli isolates from Crohn's disease patients. Removal of PA is sufficient to reverse these phenotypic changes. Our data indicate that exposure to PA results in AIEC resistance and increased virulence in its presence.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ormsby MJ, Johnson SA, Carpena N, Meikle LM, Goldstone RJ, McIntosh A, Wessel HM, Hulme HE, McConnachie CC, Connolly JPR, Roe AJ, Hasson C, Boyd J, Fitzgerald E, Gerasimidis K, Morrison D, Hold GL, Hansen R, Walker D, Smith DGE, Wall DM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cell Reports

Year: 2020

Volume: 30

Issue: 7

Pages: 2297-2305.e5

Online publication date: 18/02/2020

Acceptance date: 22/01/2020

ISSN (print): 2211-1247

ISSN (electronic): 2211-1247

Publisher: Elsevier B.V.


DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2020.01.078


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