AIMS: To investigate aggregation and adhesiveness of Lactobacillus acidophilus M92 to porcine ileal epithelial cells in vitro, and the influence of cell surface proteins on autoaggregation and adhesiveness of this strain. METHODS AND RESULTS: Lactobacillus acidophilus M92 exhibits a strong autoaggregating phenotype and manifests a high degree of hydrophobicity determined by microbial adhesion to xylene. Aggregation and hydrophobicity were abolished upon exposure of the cells to pronase and pepsin. Sodium dodecyl sulphate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of cell surface proteins revealed the presence of potential surface layer (S-layer) proteins, approximated at 45 kDa, in L. acidophilus M92. The relationship between autoaggregation and adhesiveness to intestinal tissue was investigated by observing the adhesiveness of L. acidophilus M92 to porcine ileal epithelial cells. Removal of the S-layer proteins by extraction with 5 mol l-1 LiCl reduced autoaggregation and in vitro adhesion of this strain. CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate that there is relationship between autoaggregation and adhesiveness ability of L. acidophilus M92, mediated by proteinaceous components on the cell surface. SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY: This investigation has shown that L. acidophilus M92 has the ability to establish in the human gastrointestinal tract, which is an important determinant in the choice of probiotic strains.
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