SUMMARY: strain GM is a motile obligate anaerobe that was isolated from mouse caecal mucosa. Twenty-five strains of motility mutants were obtained from populations of strain GM (wild-type) that had been exposed to UV light. Unlike GM cells, mutant bacteria were either non-motile and non-flagellated (Fla) or migrated slowly or atypically in semi-solid medium. Strain GM and two mutant strains, SLS (Fla) and WES (atypically motile), were used in mouse colonization experiments. In separate experiments, each strain colonized (4.8 × 10 to 1.5 × 10 c.f.u. per g caecum) the caecum of germfree mice inoculated intragastrically with pure cultures of the bacteria. In mice mono-associated with either mutant strain, bacteria which were non-motile or atypically motile predominated in their caeca (>99% of total bacteria recovered). In mice mono-associated with motile cells of strain GM, mutant strains which had lost wild-type motility became predominant in the caecal populations (97% of total bacteria recovered at 48 to 70 days after inoculation). Mice mono-associated with either strain SLS or strain GM were colonized by one strain each of , a sp., and a sp. Most (99%) of the cells recovered from the caeca of these animals had typical wild-type motility. Motility, although not essential for to colonize germfree mice, is apparently advantageous to this bacterium when other micro-organisms are present with it in the mouse caecum. Motility may thus be essential for to colonize conventional laboratory mice.


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