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Res Microbiol. 2005 Sep;156(8):887-95. Epub 2005 Jun 9.

Real-time PCR quantification of bacterial adhesion to Caco-2 cells: competition between bifidobacteria and enteropathogens.

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  • 1Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, CIRB-Center for Biotechnology, University of Bologna, Via Belmeloro 6, 40126 Bologna, Italy.


Probiotic bacteria play an important role in protecting the host from intestinal colonization of pathogenic bacteria. We have developed a new analytical approach based on a real-time PCR technique for quantifying Bifidobacterium adhesion to intestinal epithelial cells. Real-time PCR analysis showed that adhesion to enterocyte-like Caco-2 cells represented a variable phenotype in the genus Bifidobacterium, enabling classification of three adhesion behaviors: high adhesiveness (>40 bifidobacterial cells/Caco-2 cell); adhesiveness (5-40 bifidobacterial cells/Caco-2 cell); no adhesiveness (<5 bifidobacterial cells/Caco-2 cell). This molecular methodology was successfully used in competition studies in enteropathogens. All bifidobacterial strains examined evidenced displacement activity towards important enteropathogens (S. typhimurium, Y. enterocolitica and E. coli EPEC). Real-time PCR is a rapid, accurate and sensitive method for detecting and quantifying different bacterial genera and species simultaneously adhering to a epithelial cell monolayer.

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