Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)

Infection of bovine well-differentiated airway epithelial cells by Pasteurella multocida: actions and counteractions in the bacteria-host interactions

Pasteurella (P.) multocida is a zoonotic pathogen, which is able to cause respiratory disorder in different hosts. In cattle, P. multocida is an important microorganism involved in the bovine respiratory disease complex (BRDC) with a huge economic impact. We applied air-liquid interface (ALI) cultures of well-differentiated bovine airway epithelial cells to analyze the interaction of P. multocida with its host target cells. The bacterial pathogen grew readily on the ALI cultures. Infection resulted in a substantial loss of ciliated cells. Nevertheless, the epithelial cell layer maintained its barrier function as indicated by the transepithelial electrical resistance and the inability of dextran to get from the apical to the basolateral compartment via the paracellular route. Analysis by confocal immunofluorescence microscopy confirmed the intactness of the epithelial cell layer though it was not as thick as the uninfected control cells. Finally, we chose the bacterial neuraminidase to show that our infection model is a sustainable tool to analyze virulence factors of P. multocida. Furthermore, we provide an explanation, why this microorganism usually is a commensal and becomes pathogenic only in combination with other factors such as co-infecting microorganisms.

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