Determination of spatial and temporal colonization of enteropathogenic E. coli and enterohemorrhagic E. coli in mice using bioluminescent in vivo imaging

Ki Jong Rhee, Hao Cheng, Antoneicka Harris, Cara Morin, James B. Kaper, Gail A. Hecht

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Infectious diarrhea is a major contributor of child morbidity and mortality in developing nations. Murine models to study the pathogenesis of infectious diarrhea caused by organisms such as enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) and enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) are not fully characterized. More emphasis has been placed on infection of mice with the murine specific pathogen Citrobacter rodentium. While these three organisms are genetically related they are not identical. Our goal was to better characterize the murine model of EPEC and EHEC infection by using bioluminescent bacteria to determine temporal and spatial colonization of these two human pathogens. EPEC and EHEC were transformed with a bacterial luciferase expression plasmid containing the constitutive OmpC promoter. C57BL/6 mice were orally inoculated with bioluminescent EPEC or EHEC and bacterial localization in the intestine was monitored ex vivo and in vivo by IVIS. At 3 days after infection, EPEC, EHEC and Citrobacter rodentium were all localized in the cecum and colon. EPEC colonization peaked at day 2-3 and was undetectable by day 7. The bioluminescent EPEC adheres to the cecum and colon of the mouse intestine. However, when EPEC infected mice were administered xylazine/ketamine for in vivo live imaging, the EPEC persisted at high densities for up to 31 days. This is the first report of a bioluminescent imaging of luciferase expressing EPEC in a mouse model.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGut Microbes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jan 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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