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Pathog Dis. 2014 Oct;72(1):74-7. doi: 10.1111/2049-632X.12184. Epub 2014 Jun 30.

In vivo imaging of bioluminescent Pseudomonas aeruginosa in an acute murine airway infection model.

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Clinical Research Group, Hannover Medical School, Clinic for Pediatric Pneumology, Allergology and Neonatology, Hannover, Germany.


Non-invasive bioluminescence imaging allows the analysis of infectious diseases in small animal models. In this study, an acute airway infection of C3H/HeN mice with luxCDABE transformed Pseudomonas aeruginosa TBCF10839 and an isogenic transposon mutant was followed by optical imaging in vivo. Using the disease-causing dose of 2.0 × 10(6) CFU of the cystic fibrosis airway isolate TBCF10839, subtle luminescence of the lungs was inconsistently visible for the first hour after infection. Conversely, using a 100-fold higher dose of the strongly virulence-attenuated transposon mutant, the robust signal of bioluminescent bacteria increased over 24 h. To monitor murine airway infections with P. aeruginosa in vivo by bioluminescence, one should select an attenuated mutant of a virulent strain or a wild type strain that naturally lacks virulence determinants and/or that has acquired a low virulence persister phenotype by patho-adaptive mutations.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa; bioluminescence; in vivo imaging; infection monitoring; mouse model; transposon mutant

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