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Nat Protoc. 2009;4(1):25-30. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2008.212.

Dictyostelium discoideum: a model host to measure bacterial virulence.

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Département de Physiologie et Métabolisme Cellulaire, Centre Médical Universitaire, Université de Genève, Rue Michel Servet 1, CH-1211 Genève 4, Switzerland.


Dictyostelium amoebae have been used as a host model to measure virulence of a wide range of bacterial pathogens. The simple protocol described here takes advantage of the ability of Dictyostelium to grow and form plaques on a lawn of nonpathogenic bacteria but not on virulent bacteria. This assay can be modulated to measure the virulence of different bacterial pathogens. By adjusting various parameters such as cell numbers or media, a more quantitative measure of bacterial virulence can also be obtained. The entire procedure takes about 5 h to compete, and up to 2 further weeks may be required for plaques to form on the bacterial lawn.

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