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Bacterial chemotaxis differences in Escherichia coli isolated from different hosts

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The mechanisms mediating the association between Escherichia coli and specific hosts are unknown. This study investigates the hypothesis that the host-specific associations of E. coli strains are mediated in part by differences in chemotaxis. To test this hypothesis, chemotactic responses of E. coli strains isolated from different host groups (carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores) were tested with various attractants. In low-density agar chemotaxis assays, the average motility of E. coli in response to aspartate, serine, and ribose among the different groups was not significantly different; however, strains from carnivores responded significantly more to aspartate, relative to their responses to serine, in comparison with strains from herbivores, which responded equally or better to serine than to aspartate. The relatively greater chemotactic response of strains from carnivores to aspartate than to serine was confirmed in a subset of strains by capillary chemotaxis assay. Differences in responses to serine and aspartate were not due to growth differences, as determined by comparison of 24 h growth curves with glycerol, aspartate, and serine carbon sources. The differences in chemotactic behavior of E. coli strains isolated from herbivores and carnivores support the hypothesis that host-specific associations of E. coli strains are mediated in part by differences in chemotactic behavior.

Les mécanismes qui interviennent dans l’association d’Escherichia coli avec des hôtes spécifiques sont inconnus. Cette étude examine l’hypothèse que les associations des souches d’E. coli spécifiques à un hôte impliquent des différences de réponses chimiotactiques. Afin de tester cette hypothèse, les réponses chimiotactiques de souches d’E. coli isolées de groupes différents d’hôtes (carnivores, herbivores et omnivores) ont été testées avec différents composés attractifs. Lors d’essais chimiotactiques en agar mou, la motilité moyenne d’E. coli en réponse à l’aspartate, à la sérine et au ribose n’était pas significativement différente parmi les différents groupes; cependant, les souches isolées des carnivores répondaient significativement plus à l’aspartate qu’à la sérine, comparativement aux souches isolées des herbivores qui répondaient de façon équivalente ou supérieure à la sérine par rapport à l’aspartate. La réponse chimiotactique relativement supérieure des souches isolées des carnivores vis-à-vis l’aspartate comparativement à la sérine a été confirmée chez un sous-groupe de souches par un essai chimiotactique capillaire. Les différentes réponses à la sérine et à l’aspartate n’étaient pas dues à des différences de croissance tel que déterminé en comparant les courbes de croissance de 24 h sur du glycérol, de l’aspartate et de la sérine utilisés comme sources de carbone. Les différents comportements chimiotactiques des souches d’E. coli isolées des herbivores et des carnivores appuient l’hypothèse que les associations spécifiques à l’hôte de souches d’E. coli impliquent des différences dans le comportement chimiotactique.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2008

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  • Published since 1954, this monthly journal contains new research in the field of microbiology including applied microbiology and biotechnology; microbial structure and function; fungi and other eucaryotic protists; infection and immunity; microbial ecology; physiology, metabolism and enzymology; and virology, genetics, and molecular biology. It also publishes review articles and notes on an occasional basis, contributed by recognized scientists worldwide.
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