Characterization of Bacterial Isolates from Mice affected with Hirschsprung's Disease

LaBreck, Patrick Tracy
Hirschsprung's disease (HD) is a congenital disease featuring blockage of the large intestine, leading to enterocolitis, a serious and sometimes fatal complication. The microbiome in a mouse model of HD differs from that found in healthy mice, supporting a role for the microbiome in enterocolitis. In particular, young HD mice show proliferation of coagulase-negative staphylococci such as Staphylococcus xylosus, in place of lactobacilli. The goal of my study was to isolate and characterize S. xylosus from a HD mouse and Lactobacillus johnsonii from a wild-type mouse. The two bacterial species were successfully isolated using selective media, (and their identity confirmed by 16S rRNA gene sequencing) allowing me to further study biofilm formation and possible inter-species interactions. Biofilm formation was tested on several surfaces and viewed via light microscopy; S. xylosus was able to form a biofilm on a hydrophilic support. The interactions between the two species were examined by reciprocal growth inhibition assays using the culture supernatants of both species. No growth inhibition was observed. Our characterization of the biofilm formed by S. xylosus, as well as our examination of possible interactions between the two species, provides a foundation for an improved understanding of enterocolitis in the HD mouse.
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