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Infect Immun. Sep 1994; 62(9): 4095–4099.
PMCID: PMC303077

Chemotactic response to mucin by Serpulina hyodysenteriae and other porcine spirochetes: potential role in intestinal colonization.


Chemotaxis of porcine spirochetes towards a variety of mucins was measured quantitatively by a capillary method. A chemotaxis buffer consisting of 0.01 M potassium phosphate buffer (pH 7.0) and 0.2 mM L-cysteine hydrochloride was necessary for chemotaxis of spirochetes. The optimum incubation time and incubation temperature were 1 h and 40 degrees C, respectively. The mucin concentration also affected the chemotaxis observed, and a concentration of 1% (wt/vol) was near the optimum. Virulent Serpulina hyodysenteriae strains were chemotactic towards 1% (wt/vol) hog gastric mucin and 1% (wt/vol) porcine colonic mucin but not towards 1% (wt/vol) bovine submaxillary mucin. Virulent S. hyodysenteriae strains were significantly more chemotactic than avirulent strains of S. hyodysenteriae (SA3 and VS1), Serpulina intermedius, and Serpulina innocens. Other spirochetes belonging to the proposed group of spirochetes Anguillina coli were also not chemotactic. Pathogenicity of S. hyodysenteriae strains that cause swine dysentery may, in part, be attributed to their attraction to porcine intestinal mucus.

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