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Theses

Role of Escherichia coli curli in relation with intestinal components - mucin, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Enterococcus faecalis

Abstract : Bacteria in nature mostly exist in biofilms, which are structured adherent communities encased in polymeric matrices. In the human body, most biofilms are composed of commensal microorganisms with the gastrointestinal tract being the most heavily colonized site. Bacterial attachment to the overlying mucus gel layer of the intestinal epithelium is fundamental to the establishment of a stable commensal microflora. However the interaction of bacteria with the complex mucus gel is poorly described. Moreover, the complexity and diversity of the gut microbiota is itself an obstacle to studying its biology. Microbiota functions are the product of communities of bacteria and interactions between multiple species. New approaches are needed to study this aspect of even the most well-studied member of the human gut microbiota, Escherichia coli. This thesis was devoted to the exploration of the transcriptional response of E. coli facing different elements of human gut following 3 main objectives. First, the initial part of my work was related to the conception and optimization of appropriate genetic tools to both track E. coli within the multispecies context that constitute human gut commensals, and survey the expression of genes of interest. Use of the Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) genes allowing enhanced fluorescence and shortened half-life has permitted significant progress both in whole cell tagging as well as transcriptional reporting, while the red fluorescent counterparts were disappointing. Second, using the subset of tools that has been validated to be reliable, influence of mucin on the biofilm formation ability of E. coli has subsequently been studied. I have shown that mucin promotes E. coli biofilm formation through transcriptional modulation of surface adhesion structures such as curli and type 1 pili. Third, concurrently, E. coli’s population relationship to commensal bacteria (K. pneumoniae and E. faecalis) was investigated and demonstrated, with the possible influence of surface adhesion structures such as curli as the biological focus. The results suggest that curli production in biofilm increases the fitness of E. coli when co-cultured with K. pneumoniae while promoting synergistic interaction between E. coli and E. faecalis. The implication based on the data is discussed. This work improves the understanding of E. coli response to the gut environment, and provides foundations to build more powerful tools for further investigations.
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Nan Yang. Role of Escherichia coli curli in relation with intestinal components - mucin, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Enterococcus faecalis. Agricultural sciences. INSA de Lyon, 2011. English. ⟨NNT : 2011ISAL0006⟩. ⟨tel-00657247⟩

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