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Yersinia enterocolitica infection and tcaA-dependent killing of Caenorhabditis elegans.


ABSTRACT: Caenorhabditis elegans is a validated model to study bacterial pathogenicity. We report that Yersinia enterocolitica strains W22703 (biovar 2, serovar O:9) and WA314 (biovar 1B, serovar O:8) kill C. elegans when feeding on the pathogens for at least 15 min before transfer to the feeding strain Escherichia coli OP50. The killing by Yersinia enterocolitica requires viable bacteria and, in contrast to that by Yersinia pestis and Yersinia pseudotuberculosis strains, is biofilm independent. The deletion of tcaA encoding an insecticidal toxin resulted in an OP50-like life span of C. elegans, indicating an essential role of TcaA in the nematocidal activity of Y. enterocolitica. TcaA alone is not sufficient for nematocidal activity because E. coli DH5alpha overexpressing TcaA did not result in a reduced C. elegans life span. Spatial-temporal analysis of C. elegans infected with green fluorescent protein-labeled Y. enterocolitica strains showed that Y. enterocolitica colonizes the nematode intestine, leading to an extreme expansion of the intestinal lumen. By low-dose infection with W22703 or DH5alpha followed by transfer to E. coli OP50, proliferation of Y. enterocolitica, but not E. coli, in the intestinal lumen of the nematode was observed. The titer of W22703 cells within the worm increased to over 10(6) per worm 4 days after infection while a significantly lower number of a tcaA knockout mutant was recovered. A strong expression of tcaA was observed during the first 5 days of infection. Y. enterocolitica WA314 (biovar 1B, serovar O:8) mutant strains lacking the yadA, inv, yopE, and irp1 genes known to be important for virulence in mammals were not attenuated or only slightly attenuated in their toxicity toward the nematode, suggesting that these factors do not play a significant role in the colonization and persistence of this pathogen in nematodes. In summary, this study supports the hypothesis that C. elegans is a natural host and nutrient source of Y. enterocolitica.

SUBMITTER: Spanier B 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC2937509 | BioStudies | 2010-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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