Neonatal acquisition of Clostridia species protects against colonization by bacterial pathogens

Yungi Kim, Kei Sakamoto, Sang Uk Seo, Joseph M. Pickard, Merritt G. Gillilland, Nicholas A. Pudlo, Matthew Hoostal, Xue Li, Thomas D. Wang, Taylor Feehley, Andrew T. Stefka, Thomas M. Schmidt, Eric C. Martens, Shinji Fukuda, Naohiro Inohara, Cathryn R. Nagler, Gabriel Núñez

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57 Citations (Scopus)


The high susceptibility of neonates to infections has been assumed to be due to immaturity of the immune system, but the mechanism remains unclear. By colonizing adult germ-free mice with the cecal contents of neonatal and adult mice, we show that the neonatal microbiota is unable to prevent colonization by two bacterial pathogens that cause mortality in neonates. The lack of colonization resistance occurred when Clostridiales were absent in the neonatal microbiota. Administration of Clostridiales, but not Bacteroidales, protected neonatal mice from pathogen infection and abrogated intestinal pathology upon pathogen challenge. Depletion of Clostridiales also abolished colonization resistance in adult mice. The neonatal bacteria enhanced the ability of protective Clostridiales to colonize the gut.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-319
Number of pages5
Issue number6335
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Apr 21


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • General

Cite this

Kim, Y., Sakamoto, K., Seo, S. U., Pickard, J. M., Gillilland, M. G., Pudlo, N. A., Hoostal, M., Li, X., Wang, T. D., Feehley, T., Stefka, A. T., Schmidt, T. M., Martens, E. C., Fukuda, S., Inohara, N., Nagler, C. R., & Núñez, G. (2017). Neonatal acquisition of Clostridia species protects against colonization by bacterial pathogens. Science, 356(6335), 315-319.