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Mucus Architecture and Near-Surface Swimming Affect Distinct Salmonella Typhimurium Infection Patterns along the Murine Intestinal Tract

Journal article
Authors M. Furter
M. E. Sellin
Gunnar C. Hansson
W. D. Hardt
Published in Cell Reports
Volume 27
Issue 9
Pages 2665-+
ISSN 2211-1247
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Pages 2665-+
Language en
Keywords enterica serovar typhimurium, colon mucus, mouse model, secretion, expression, bacteria, colitis, innate, microbiota, flagella, Cell Biology
Subject categories Cell and molecular biology, Cell and Molecular Biology


Mucus separates gut-luminal microbes from the tissue. It is unclear how pathogens like Salmonella Typhimurium (S.Tm) can overcome this obstacle. Using live microscopy, we monitored S.Tm interactions with native murine gut explants and studied how mucus affects the infection. A dense inner mucus layer covers the distal colon tissue, limiting direct tissue access. S.Tm performs near-surface swimming on this mucus layer, which allows probing for colon mucus heterogeneities, but can also entrap the bacterium in the dense inner colon mucus layer. In the cecum, dense mucus fills only the bottom of the intestinal crypts, leaving the epithelium between crypts unshielded and prone to access by motile and non-motile bacteria alike. This explains why the cecum is highly infection permissive and represents the primary site of S.Tm enterocolitis in the streptomycin mouse model. Our findings highlight the importance of mucus in intestinal defense and homeostasis.

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