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Bacillus cereus Adhesion to Simulated Intestinal Mucus Is Determined by Its Growth on Mucin, Rather Than Intestinal Environmental Parameters.

Foodborne pathogens and disease (2015-11-07)
Varvara Tsilia, Mieke Uyttendaele, Frederiek-Maarten Kerckhof, Andreja Rajkovic, Marc Heyndrickx, Tom Van de Wiele
ABSTRACT

Adhesion of pathogenic bacteria to intestinal mucus, the protective layer of the gastrointestinal epithelium, is often considered a virulence factor. The ability of food-poisoning Bacillus cereus strains to attach to mucus and the factors affecting this interaction have not yet been investigated. Therefore, the role of adhesion in pathogenesis of B. cereus still remains unknown. In the present study, an in vitro assay based on mucin agar was used to simulate adhesion of B. cereus to mucus. Bacterial-associated factors (e.g., strain specificity and microbial competition) known to influence adhesion to different surfaces and a variety of environmental conditions (e.g., pH and oxygen) encountered in the gastrointestinal tract were investigated. The effect of these parameters on B. cereus NVH 0500/00 mucin adhesion was generally limited even in the presence of microbial competition. This suggests that B. cereus NVH 0500/00 is a versatile pathogen. Inoculation of 4 to 5 log colony-forming units (CFU) per milliliter. B. cereus NVH 0500/00 resulted in 5-6 log CFU/mL mucin-associated bacteria after a short incubation period. This indicates that this pathogenic strain could grow in the presence of mucin agar. This growth may potentially mask the effect of the studied conditions. Yet, extensive attachment of B. cereus to mucin is not necessarily a prerequisite for virulence, because other pathogenic strains do not adhere with the same efficiency to mucin. Nevertheless, adhesion may contribute to the disease by providing close contact to nutrient sources, such as mucin, which would not only result in bacterial proliferation, but also in disruption of the protective host mucus surface.

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