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Open Access Research

Investigation of motility and biofilm formation by intestinal Campylobacter concisus strains

Peter Lavrencic, Nadeem O Kaakoush, Karina D Huinao, Nupur Kain and Hazel M Mitchell*

Author Affiliations

School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, 2052, Australia

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Gut Pathogens 2012, 4:22  doi:10.1186/1757-4749-4-22

Published: 14 December 2012

Abstract

Motility helps many pathogens swim through the highly viscous intestinal mucus. Given the differing outcomes of Campylobacter concisus infection, the motility of eight C. concisus strains isolated from patients with Crohn’s disease (n=3), acute (n=3) and chronic (n=1) gastroenteritis and a healthy control (n=1) were compared. Following growth on solid or liquid media the eight strains formed two groups; however, the type of growth medium did not affect motility. In contrast, following growth in viscous liquid medium seven of the eight strains demonstrated significantly decreased motility. In media of increasing viscosities the motility of C. concisus UNSWCD had two marked increases at viscosities of 20.0 and 74.7 centipoises. Determination of the ability of UNSWCD to swim through a viscous medium, adhere to and invade intestinal epithelial cells showed that while adherence levels significantly decreased with increasing viscosity, invasion levels did not significantly change. In contrast, adherence to and invasion of UNSWCD to mucus-producing intestinal cells increased upon accumulation of mucus, as did bacterial aggregation. Given this aggregation, we determined the ability of the eight C. concisus strains to form biofilms, and showed that all strains formed biofilms. In conclusion, the finding that C. concisus strains could be differentiated into two groups based on their motility may suggest that strains with high motility have an increased ability to swim through the intestinal mucus and reach the epithelial layer.

Keywords:
Campylobacter concisus; Motility; Adherence; Viscous; Mucus; Biofilm