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ACS Infect Dis. 2017 Aug 11;3(8):595-605. doi: 10.1021/acsinfecdis.7b00064. Epub 2017 Jun 13.

Human Milk Oligosaccharides Exhibit Antimicrobial and Antibiofilm Properties against Group B Streptococcus.

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Department of Chemistry, Vanderbilt University , 7330 Stevenson Center, Nashville, Tennessee 37235, United States.
Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center , 1161 21st Avenue South, D-3100 Medical Center North, Nashville, Tennessee 37232, United States.
Department of Pediatrics, Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt , 2200 Children's Way, Suite 2404, Nashville, Tennessee 37232, United States.
Tennessee Valley Healthcare Systems, Department of Veterans Affairs , 1310 24th Avenue South, Nashville, Tennessee 37212, United States.
Institute of Chemical Biology, Vanderbilt University , 896 Preston Research Building, Nashville, Tennessee 37232-6304, United States.


Streptococcus agalactiae (Group B Streptococcus, GBS) is a Gram-positive bacterial pathogen that causes invasive infections in both children and adults. During pregnancy, GBS is a significant cause of infection of the fetal membranes (chorioamnionitis), which can lead to intra-amniotic infection, preterm birth, stillbirth, and neonatal sepsis. Recently, breastfeeding has been thought to represent a potential mode of GBS transmission from mother to newborn, which might increase the risk for late-onset sepsis. Little is known, however, about the molecular components of breast milk that may support or prevent GBS colonization. In this study, we examine how human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) affect the pathogenesis of GBS. HMOs from discrete donor samples were isolated and profiled by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry (MS). Growth and biofilm assays show that HMOs from mothers of specific milk groups can modulate the growth and biofilm formation of GBS. High-resolution field-emission gun scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and confocal laser scanning microscopy confirmed the quantitative biofilm assays and demonstrated cell arrangement perturbations in bacterial cultures treated with specific oligosaccharides. These findings demonstrate that HMOs affect the growth and cell biology of GBS. Finally, this study provides the first example of HMOs functioning as antibiofilm agents against GBS.


GBS; Group B Streptococcus; HMO; antibiofilm; antimicrobial; bacteriostatic; human milk oligosaccharides

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