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Abstract

High numbers of lactobacilli in the vaginal tract have been correlated with a decreased risk of infection by the sexually transmitted pathogen Neisseria gonorrhoeae. We have previously shown that Lactobacillus jensenii, one of the most prevalent microorganisms in the healthy human vaginal tract, can inhibit gonococcal adherence to epithelial cells in culture. Here we examined the role of the epithelial cells and the components of L. jensenii involved in the inhibition of gonococcal adherence. L. jensenii inhibited the adherence of gonococci to glutaraldehyde-fixed epithelial cells like it inhibited the adherence of gonococci to live epithelial cells, suggesting that the epithelial cells do not need to be metabolically active for the inhibition to occur. In addition, methanol-fixed L. jensenii inhibited gonococcal adherence to live epithelial cells, indicating that L. jensenii uses a constitutive component to inhibit gonococcal interactions with epithelial cells. Proteinase K treatment of methanol-fixed lactobacilli eliminated the inhibitory effect, suggesting that the inhibitory component contains protein. Released surface components (RSC) isolated from L. jensenii were found to contain at least two inhibitory components, both of which are protease sensitive. Using anion-exchange and size exclusion chromatography, an inhibitory protein which exhibits significant similarity to the enzyme enolase was isolated. A recombinant His6-tagged version of this protein was subsequently produced and shown to inhibit gonococcal adherence to epithelial cells in a dose-dependent manner.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Lactobacillus jensenii LBV 116Reduced Neisseria Gonorrhoeae Adherence to Epithelial CellsBeneficial
Moderate
Lactobacillus jensenii LJe52Reduced Neisseria Gonorrhoeae Adherence to Epithelial CellsBeneficial
Moderate
Lactobacillus jensenii VPro 32Reduced Risk of Gonorrhea InfectionBeneficial
Moderate
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