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Infect Immun. 1993 Dec;61(12):5029-34.

Identification of coccoid Escherichia coli BJ4 cells in the large intestine of streptomycin-treated mice.

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  • 1Department of Bacteriology, Statens Seruminstitut, Copenhagen.


Escherichia coli BJ4, a rat isolate, was used to examine the growth and differentiation of the microorganism in its natural habitat, the intestine. Growth of E. coli BJ4 in the large intestine of streptomycin-treated mice was compared with its growth in laboratory media. By a number of methods, it was shown that E. coli BJ4 differentiates, during growth in the intestine, into two distinct populations, one that has the characteristics of the laboratory-grown strain and one that appears as a coccoid cell. Furthermore, it was shown that there is a natural selection for the coccoid-type cell in the intestine, while in laboratory media growth of rod-shaped E. coli BJ4 is enhanced.

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