Adherent-invasive E. coli (AIEC) are enriched in the intestinal microbiota of patients with Crohn’s disease (CD) and promote intestinal inflammation. Yet, how AIEC metabolism of nutrients impacts intestinal homeostasis is poorly defined. Here, we show that AIEC encoding the large subunit of propanediol dehydratase (PduC), which facilitates the utilization of fucose fermentation product 1,2-propanediol, are increased in the microbiome of CD patients and drive AIEC-induced intestinal T cell inflammation.
In murine models, CX3CR1+ mononuclear phagocytes (MNP) are required for PduC-dependent induction of T helper 17 (Th17) cells and interleukin-1β (IL-1β) production that leads to AIEC-induced inflammatory colitis. Activation of this inflammatory cascade requires the catalytic activity of PduC to generate propionate, which synergizes with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to induce IL-1β by MNPs. Disrupting fucose availability limits AIEC-induced propionate production and intestinal inflammation.
These findings identify MNPs as metabolic sensors linking AIEC metabolism with intestinal inflammation and identify microbial metabolism as a potential therapeutic target in Crohn’s disease treatment.