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Infect Immun. 1988 September; 56(9): 2209–2217.
PMCID: PMC259551

Roles of motility, chemotaxis, and penetration through and growth in intestinal mucus in the ability of an avirulent strain of Salmonella typhimurium to colonize the large intestine of streptomycin-treated mice.


Previously, it had been shown that an avirulent strain of Salmonella typhimurium, SL5316, with wild-type lipopolysaccharide (LPS) was a far better colonizer of the streptomycin-treated CD-1 mouse large intestine, was far more motile, did not bind to mouse intestinal mucus nearly as well as, but penetrated through a layer of intestinal mucus in vitro far better than an almost isogenic LPS-deficient transductant, SL5325. In the present investigation, a nonflagellated transductant, SL5681, and a nonchemotactic transductant, SL5784, were isolated from SL5316 and tested for relative colonizing ability versus SL5316 (smooth) and SL5325 (rough) in streptomycin-treated mice. In addition, the Salmonella strains were tested for their ability to grow together in cecal intestinal mucus and in cecal luminal contents, for their tumbling and swimming activities after growth in cecal mucus, and for their ability to adhere to and travel through cecal mucus in vitro. The data show that the nonflagellated and nonchemotactic derivatives colonized large intestine nearly as well as their parent and were far better colonizers than the LPS-deficient mutant, that all the strains grew equally well in cecal mucus but did not grow in cecal luminal contents, and that cecal mucus-grown strains lost tumbling and swimming activities. Furthermore, the LPS-deficient strain adhered to cecal mucus far better but penetrated mucus far worse than did the nonflagellated transductant, the nonchemotactic transductant, and the parent. Thus, motility and chemotaxis do not appear to play a major role in the ability of the avirulent S. typhimurium strains to colonize the mouse large intestine, colonization may require growth in cecal mucus but does not depend on growth in cecal luminal contents, growth in cecal mucus inhibits S. typhimurium motility, and increased adhesion of the LPS-deficient mutant to cecal mucus and its poor ability to penetrate cecal mucus may play a role in its poor intestine-colonizing ability.

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