Patterning Bacterial Communities on Epithelial Cells

>Micropatterning of bacteria using aqueous two phase system (ATPS) enables the localized culture and formation of physically separated bacterial communities on human epithelial cell sheets. This method was used to compare the effects of Escherichia coli strain MG1655 and an isogenic invasive counterpart that expresses the invasin (inv) gene from Yersinia pseudotuberculosis on the underlying epithelial cell layer. Large portions of the cell layer beneath the invasive strain were killed or detached while the non-invasive E. coli had no apparent effect on the epithelial cell layer over a 24 h observation period. In addition, simultaneous testing of the localized effects of three different bacterial species; E. coli MG1655, Shigella boydii KACC 10792 and Pseudomonas sp DSM 50906 on an epithelial cell layer is also demonstrated. The paper further shows the ability to use a bacterial predator, Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus HD 100, to selectively remove the E. coli, S. boydii and P. sp communities from this bacteria-patterned epithelial cell layer. Importantly, predation and removal of the P. Sp was critical for maintaining viability of the underlying epithelial cells. Although this paper focuses on a few specific cell types, the technique should be broadly applicable to understand a variety of bacteria-epithelial cell interactions.

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