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Sci Immunol. 2018 Oct 19;3(28). pii: eaat6975. doi: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aat6975.

Cell surface polysaccharides of Bifidobacterium bifidum induce the generation of Foxp3+ regulatory T cells.

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Academy of Immunology and Microbiology, Institute for Basic Science, Pohang 37673, Republic of Korea.
Division of Integrative Biosciences and Biotechnology, Department of Life Sciences, Pohang University of Science and Technology, Pohang 37673, Republic of Korea.
School of Life Sciences, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, Gwangju 61005, Republic of Korea.
INRA-Agrocampus Ouest Rennes, UMR 1253 STLO, Rennes, France.
Department of Rheumatology, Ajou University School of Medicine,164 Worldcup-ro, Yeongtong-gu, Suwon 16499, Republic of Korea.
Immunology Research Program, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Darlinghurst, New South Wales 2010, Australia.
Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Napoli, 80055 Portici, Italy.
Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Napoli, 80126 Napoli, Italy.
Task Force on Microbiome Studies, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy.
Academy of Immunology and Microbiology, Institute for Basic Science, Pohang 37673, Republic of Korea.


Dysregulation of intestinal microflora is linked to inflammatory disorders associated with compromised immunosuppressive functions of Foxp3+ T regulatory (Treg) cells. Although mucosa-associated commensal microbiota has been implicated in Treg generation, molecular identities of the "effector" components controlling this process remain largely unknown. Here, we have defined Bifidobacterium bifidum as a potent inducer of Foxp3+ Treg cells with diverse T cell receptor specificity to dietary antigens, commensal bacteria, and B. bifidum itself. Cell surface β-glucan/galactan (CSGG) polysaccharides of B. bifidum were identified as key components responsible for Treg induction. CSGG efficiently recapitulated the activity of whole bacteria and acted via regulatory dendritic cells through a partially Toll-like receptor 2-mediated mechanism. Treg cells induced by B. bifidum or purified CSGG display stable and robust suppressive capacity toward experimental colitis. By identifying CSGG as a functional component of Treg-inducing bacteria, our studies highlight the immunomodulatory potential of CSGG and CSGG-producing microbes.


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