Saturday, April 4, 2015

in vitro model to study commensal microbe-host interaction

Segmented filamentous bacteria (SFB) is a commensal gut microbe in laboratory mouse. Importantly, few years ago SFB was identified as microbe that could specifically drive TH17 development in the mouse gut as well as induce general gut immune system maturation.

It is anaerobic microbe with no known in vitro growth conditions. However, to reduce laboratory animal suffering and unnecessary in vivo experimentation, it would be advantageous to be able to study SFB-host interactions in vitro.

This is exactly what the authors of the new paper published in journal Nature had tried to accomplish (this paper was under review for 1 year). The authors were able to develop in vitro SFB-mammalian cell co-culture that yielded functional colonies of SFB.

The authors showed that in vitro culture of SFB required presence of live cells (both human (caco-2/TC7 line) or mouse cells (mICcl2 line) were tested) and iron.

Importantly, in vitro derived SFB could colonize germ-free mice and induce secretory IgA and  TH17 development.

The authors showed that in vitro derived SFB induced gene expression profile in host cells in an in vitro assay that mimicked in vivo observations.

In summary, I hope this type of research advances would contribute not to just general increase of our knowledge of commensal-host interaction, but also would indirectly improve laboratory animal welfare by reducing their use in the lethal, terminal experimentation.

David Usharauli

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