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Gut Microbes. 2011 May-Jun;2(3):173-7. Epub 2011 May 1.

The Cri1 locus is the common genetic cause of susceptibility to Citrobacter rodentium infection in C3H and FVB mouse strains.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.


Citrobacter rodentium is a natural pathogen of mice that causes intestinal hyperplasia and colitis. Resistant strains such as C57BL/6J (B6) experience a self-limiting disease that peaks between one and two weeks post infection, followed by a clearing of the infection and complete recovery. However, the inbred mouse strains C3H/HeJ (C3), C3H/HeOuJ (C3Ou) and FVB/N (FVB) are highly susceptible to C. rodentium infection and develop more severe symptoms of disease leading to high rates of mortality during infection. We have recently demonstrated through a systematic genetics approach that a single locus on proximal chromosome 15 is responsible for the susceptibility of both C3 and C3Ou mice to C. rodentium infection. We have named the locus Citrobacter rodentium infection 1 (Cri1). Here we show that Cri1 also controls susceptibility to C. rodentium in FVB mice, using a targeted method of genotyping to stratify (B6 x FVB)F2 mice according to their genotype at Cri1. Mice that inherit two copies of the resistant B6 allele have 97% cumulative survival at day 30 post-infection, whereas those that inherit one or two copies of Cri1 from the FVB parent have significantly lower rates of survival (35% and 42%, respectively). These results provide evidence for a common genetic cause of fatal infectious colitis in C3, C3Ou and FVB mice following infection with Citrobacter rodentium.

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