Prebiotic oligosaccharides potentiate host protective responses against L. Monocytogenes infection

Poyin Chen, Taylor Reiter, Bihua Huang, Nguyet Kong, Bart C Weimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Prebiotic oligosaccharides are used to modulate enteric pathogens and reduce pathogen shedding. The interactions with prebiotics that alter Listeria monocytogenes infection are not yet clearly delineated. L. monocytogenes cellular invasion requires a concerted manipulation of host epithelial cell membrane receptors to initiate internalization and infection often via receptor glycosylation. Bacterial interactions with host glycans are intimately involved in modulating cellular responses through signaling cascades at the membrane and in intracellular compartments. Characterizing the mechanisms underpinning these modulations is essential for predictive use of dietary prebiotics to diminish pathogen association. We demonstrated that human milk oligosaccharide (HMO) pretreatment of colonic epithelial cells (Caco-2) led to a 50% decrease in Listeria association, while Biomos pretreatment increased host association by 150%. L. monocytogenes-induced gene expression changes due to oligosaccharide pretreatment revealed global alterations in host signaling pathways that resulted in differential subcellular localization of L. monocytogenes during early infection. Ultimately, HMO pretreatment led to bacterial clearance in Caco-2 cells via induction of the unfolded protein response and eIF2 signaling, while Biomos pretreatment resulted in the induction of host autophagy and L. monocytogenes vacuolar escape earlier in the infection progression. This study demonstrates the capacity of prebiotic oligosaccharides to minimize infection through induction of host-intrinsic protective responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 19 2017


  • Autophagy
  • C-di-AMP
  • Cell-mediated immunity (CMI)
  • eIF2 signaling
  • ER stress
  • Human milk oligosaccharide
  • Prebiotic oligosaccharide
  • Unfolded protein response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Molecular Biology


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