The microbial environment influences animal physiology. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms of such functional interactions are largely undefined. Previously, we showed that during chronic undernutrition, strains of Lactobacillus plantarum, a major commensal partner of Drosophila, promote host juvenile growth and maturation partly through enhanced expression of intestinal peptidases. By screening a transposon insertion library of Lactobacillus plantarum in gnotobiotic Drosophila larvae, we identify a bacterial cell-wall-modifying machinery encoded by the pbpX2-dlt operon that is critical to enhance host digestive capabilities and promote animal growth and maturation. Deletion of this operon leads to bacterial cell wall alteration with a complete loss of d-alanylation of teichoic acids. We show that L. plantarum cell walls bearing d-alanylated teichoic acids are directly sensed by Drosophila enterocytes to ensure optimal intestinal peptidase expression and activity, juvenile growth and maturation during chronic undernutrition. We thus conclude that besides peptidoglycan, teichoic acid modifications participate in the host–commensal bacteria molecular dialogue occurring in the intestine.
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The authors would like to thank M. Strigini and G. Storelli for critical reading and editing of the manuscript; C. Grangeasse for helpful discussions and help with bacterial cell imaging; C. Login and T. Meylheuc from MIMA2 platform at INRA Jouy-en-Josas Research Center for TEM and SEM sample preparation and observation, respectively; the Arthro-Tools and PLATIM platforms of the SFR Biosciences (UMS3444/US8) for providing Drosophila and imaging facilities; the IGFL sequencing platform for deep sequencing; P. Serror for pG+host9 and H. Licandro-Seraut for the Pjunc-TpaseIS 1223 system. R.C.M. thanks the ‘Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale’ for financial support through a postdoctoral scholarship, SPF20140129318. M.E.M. was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement N8659510. This work was funded by an ERC starting grant (FP7/2007-2013-No. 309704). The laboratory of F.L. is supported by the FINOVI foundation and the EMBO Young Investigator Program.
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Calcified Tissue International (2018)