Identification of a mouse Lactobacillus johnsonii strain with deconjugase activity against the FXR antagonist T-β-MCA

Michael DiMarzio, Brigida Rusconi, Neela H. Yennawar, Mark Eppinger, Andrew D. Patterson, Edward G. Dudley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Bile salt hydrolase (BSH) activity against the bile acid tauro-beta-muricholic acid (T-β-MCA) was recently reported to mediate host bile acid, glucose, and lipid homeostasis via the farnesoid X receptor (FXR) signaling pathway. An earlier study correlated decreased Lactobacillus abundance in the cecum with increased concentrations of intestinal T-β-MCA, an FXR antagonist. While several studies have characterized BSHs in lactobacilli, deconjugation of T-β-MCA remains poorly characterized among members of this genus, and therefore it was unclear what strain(s) were responsible for this activity. Here, a strain of L. johnsonii with robust BSH activity against T-β-MCA in vitro was isolated from the cecum of a C57BL/6J mouse. A screening assay performed on a collection of 14 Lactobacillus strains from nine different species identified BSH substrate specificity for T-β-MCA only in two of three L. johnsonii strains. Genomic analysis of the two strains with this BSH activity revealed the presence of three bsh genes that are homologous to bsh genes in the previously sequenced human-associated strain L. johnsonii NCC533. Heterologous expression of several bsh genes in E. coli followed by enzymatic assays revealed broad differences in substrate specificity even among closely related bsh homologs, and suggests that the phylogeny of these enzymes does not closely correlate with substrate specificity. Predictive modeling allowed us to propose a potential mechanism driving differences in BSH activity for T-β-MCA in these homologs. Our data suggests that L. johnsonii regulates T-β-MCA levels in the mouse intestinal environment, and that this species may play a central role in FXR signaling in the mouse.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0183564
JournalPloS one
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2017


Dive into the research topics of 'Identification of a mouse Lactobacillus johnsonii strain with deconjugase activity against the FXR antagonist T-β-MCA'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this