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Scientists study salmonella swimming behavior as clues to infection

Scientists study salmonella swimming behavior as clues to infection
Science
Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium bacteria (S. Typhimurium) commonly cause human gastroenteritis, inflammation of the lining of the intestines. The bacteria live inside the gut and can infect the epithelial cells that line its surface. Many studies have shown that Salmonella use a "run-and-tumble" method of short swimming periods (runs) punctuated by tumbles when they randomly change direction, but how they move within the gut is not well understood.

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National Institutes of Health scientists and their colleagues believe they have identified a S. Typhimurium protein, McpC (Methyl-accepting chemotaxis protein C), that allows the bacteria to swim straight when they are ready to infect cells. This new study, published in Nature Communications, describes S. Typhimurium movement and shows that McpC is required for the bacteria to invade surface epithelial cells in the gut.

The study authors suggest that McpC is a potential target for developing new antibacterial treatments to hinder the ability of S. Typhimurium to infect intestinal epithelial cells and colonize the gut. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases scientists at Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Montana, led the study. Collaborators included groups from the University of Texas A&M campuses in College Station and Kingsville.

S. Typhimurium use flagella -- long whip-like projections -- to move through fluids. When the flagella rotate counterclockwise, they form a rotating bundle behind the bacteria and propel them forward. However, the flagella frequently switch rotation from counterclockwise to clockwise, disrupting the bundle and causing the bacteria to tumble and change direction. Using special microscopes and cameras to observe live S. Typhimurium, the scientists found that bacteria grown under conditions that activate their invasive behavior swam in longer straight runs because the flagella did not switch rotation from counterclockwise to clockwise. Bacteria lacking McpC still demonstrated the "run-and-tumble" method of swimming under these conditions and had an invasion defect in a calf intestine model, indicating that straight swimming is important for efficient invasion of intestinal epithelial cells.

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NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "Scientists study salmonella swimming behavior as clues to infection." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 January 2021. .

NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "Scientists study salmonella swimming behavior as clues to infection." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/01/210113120725.htm (accessed January 13, 2021).

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Sep. 19, 2019 — The first extensively drug-resistant (XDR) strains of Salmonella Typhimurium, a pathogen which is responsible for millions of bloodstream infections per year in sub-Saharan Africa, have been ...

Feb. 6, 2018 — The most economical way to kill bacteria that cause common food-borne illnesses -- mostly caused by Salmonella enterica -- is heat, but, the mechanisms that kill Salmonella at lower temperatures were ...

Mar. 14, 2017 — Intestines experience a lot of wear and tear. Without the stalwart stem cells that live in our gut s lining, our ability to absorb food would dwindle and bacteria from the digestive tract would ...

Feb. 2, 2017 — A new antibacterial mechanism has been identified that protects macrophages – defense cells in the immune system – from the infection of the bacteria Salmonella enterica ...
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