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Bacterium-host cell interactions at the cellular level: fluorescent labeling of bacteria and analysis of short-term bacterium-phagocyte interaction by flow cytometry.

By R B Raybourne and V K Bunning


Flow cytometry is a potentially powerful tool for analyzing the interactions of facultative intracellular bacteria and macrophages on a cellular level, particularly when fluorochromes are used to label the bacteria. We labeled Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella typhimurium with a lipophilic dye, PKH-2, and used flow cytometry to investigate phagocytosis by J774A.1 cells and short-term bacterial survival. Labeled and unlabeled bacteria were identical in terms of viability, growth kinetics, and survival within macrophages, although recovery per macrophage was much greater for L. monocytogenes than for S. typhimurium. Using L. monocytogenes as a prototypical facultative intracellular bacterium, we estimated bacterial survival during phagocytosis on the basis of linear fluorescence measurements of infected J774A.1 cells and recovery of L. monocytogenes from sorted cells. The lower percentage of surviving L. monocytogenes in macrophages containing higher bacterial loads indicated the accumulation of nonviable bacteria within phagocytes. Removal of the external source of viable bacteria by washes and gentamicin treatment reduced the percentage of surviving intracellular L. monocytogenes to a baseline level, and all baseline levels were similar, regardless of bacterial load. Listeria enrichment recoveries, derived from individually sorted J774A.1 cells, demonstrated the heterogeneity of macrophages in intracellular bacterial survival, especially within heavily infected cells. These results indicated that survival of L. monocytogenes was dependent on the adaptations of a small fraction of bacteria within a population of macrophages which permit intracellular growth

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1994
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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