The attaching and effacing mouse pathogen Citrobacter rodentium associates intimately with the intestinal epithelium, and infections result in acute colitis. C. rodentium is used to model the human pathogens enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli and enteropathogenic E. coli.
To confirm that Bacillus subtilis, a spore-forming bacterium found in the gut of mammals, could reduce C. rodentium-associated disease, mice received wild-type B. subtilis spores and 24 h later were infected by oral gavage with pathogenic C. rodentium.
Disease was assessed by determining the extent of colonic epithelial hyperplasia, goblet cell loss, diarrhea, and pathogen colonization.
Mice that received wild-type B. subtilis prior to enteric infection were protected from disease even though C. rodentium colonization was not inhibited.
In contrast, espH and hag mutants, defective in exopolysaccharides and flagellum production, respectively, did not protect mice from C. rodentium-associated disease. A motAB mutant also failed to protect mice from disease, suggesting that B. subtilis-mediated protection requires functional flagella.
By expanding our current mechanistic knowledge of bacterial protection, we can better utilize beneficial microbes to prevent intestinal disease caused by pathogenic bacteria, ultimately reducing human disease.
Our data demonstrate that wild-type B. subtilis reduced disease caused by C. rodentium infection through a mechanism that required espH and functional flagella.
JournalInfection and immunity
Infect Immun (1098-5522)
Infection and immunity
Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Infect Immun. 2012 Feb;80(2):710-9
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