Nlrp6-associated host microbiota composition impacts in the intestinal barrier to systemic dissemination of brucella abortus

Marcella Rungue, Victor Melo, David Martins, Priscila C. Campos, Gabriela Leles, Izabela Galvão, Viviani Mendes, Mariana Aganetti, Ágatha Pedersen, Natan R.G. Assis, Raiany Santos, Geovanni D. Cassali, Ana Lúcia B. Godard, Flaviano S. Martins, Sergio C. Oliveira, Angélica T. Vieira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Brucella abortus is a Gram-negative bacterium responsible for a worldwide zoonotic infec-tion—Brucellosis, which has been associated with high morbidity rate in humans and severe economic losses in infected livestock. The natural route of infection is through oral and nasal mucosa but the invasion process through host gut mucosa is yet to be understood. Studies have examined the role of NLRP6 (NOD-like receptor family pyrin domain-contain-ing-6 protein) in gut homeostasis and defense against pathogens. Here, we investigated the impact of gut microbiota and NLRP6 in a murine model of Ba oral infection. Nlrp6-/- and wild-type (WT) mice were infected by oral gavage with Ba and tissues samples were collected at different time points. Our results suggest that Ba oral infection leads to significant alterations in gut microbiota. Moreover, Nlrp6-/- mice were more resistant to infection, with decreased CFU in the liver and reduction in gut permeability when compared to the control group. Fecal microbiota transplantation from WT and Nlrp6-/- into germ-free mice reflected the gut permeability phenotype from the donors. Additionally, depletion of gut microbiota by broad-spectrum-antibiotic treatment prevented Ba replication in WT while favoring bacterial growth in Nlrp6-/-. Finally, we observed higher eosinophils in the gut and leukocytes in the blood of infected Nlrp6-/- compared to WT-infected mice, which might be associated to the Nlrp6-/-resistance phenotype. Altogether, these results indicated that gut microbiota composition is the major factor involved in the initial stages of pathogen host replication and partially also by the resistance phenotype observed in Nlrp6-/-mice regulating host inflammation against Ba infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0009171
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalPLoS neglected tropical diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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