The effect of Bifidobacterium spp. on the production of quorum-sensing (QS) signals and biofilm formation by enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) O157:H7 was investigated. In an AI-2 bioassay, cell extracts of Bifidobacterium longum ATCC 15707 resulted in a 98-fold reduction in AI-2 activity in EHEC O157:H7 as well as in the Vibrio harveyi reporter strain, even though they did not inhibit the growth of EHEC O157:H7. In addition, they resulted in a 36% reduction in biofilm formation by the organism. Consistently, the virulence of EHEC O157:H7 was significantly attenuated by the presence of cell extracts of B. longum ATCC 15707 in the Caenorhabditis elegans nematode in vivo model. By a proteome analysis using two dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE), we determined that seven proteins including formation of iron-sulfur protein (NifU), thiol:disulfide interchange protein (DsbA), and flagellar P-ring protein (FlgI) were differentially regulated in the EHEC O157:H7 when supplemented with cell extracts of B. longum ATCC 15707. Taken together, these findings propose a novel function of a dairy adjunct in repressing the virulence of EHEC O157:H7.
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