1887

Abstract

undergoes reversible, high-frequency core switching between phenotypes that include dark brown (DB), light brown (LB) and white (Wh). These phenotypes in turn can switch to the irregular wrinkle (IWr) phenotype. Natural isolates, however, express predominantly the DB phenotype, leading to the hypothesis that it has a colonization advantage over the other switch phenotypes. Using the mouse model of systemic infection, results are presented which support this hypothesis. DB has an advantage over other switch phenotypes in colonizing the two major target organs in the mouse model, the spleen and liver. A time-course study reveals that colonization of the major target organs occurs very rapidly (within 2 h) after host injection, and that the DB advantage for spleen and liver colonization is immediate. The DB advantage is maintained during clearing from spleen, liver and kidneys, and during delayed transient brain colonization. These results demonstrate that DB has a colonization advantage over other switch phenotypes, and that the switch phenotype expressed by a colonizing population therefore plays a fundamental role in virulence. It is therefore essential that switching be considered in both and studies of virulence.

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2008-11-01
2019-10-15
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