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  • 1 Department of Microbiology and Hygiene, Charité, University Medicine Berlin, Centrum 5, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Hindenburgdamm 27, D-12203, Berlin, Germany
  • 2 Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Berlin, Germany
  • 3 Department of Molecular Microbiology, Martin-Luther-University, Halle-Wittenberg, Germany
  • 4 Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology, Munich, Germany
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Abstract

Metal ions are integral parts of pro- as well as eukaryotic cell homeostasis. Escherichia coli proved a valuable in vitro model organism to elucidate essential mechanisms involved in uptake, storage, and export of metal ions. Given that E. coli Nissle 1917 is able to overcome murine colonization resistance, we generated several E. coli Nissle 1917 mutants with defects in zinc, iron, copper, nickel, manganese homeostasis and performed a comprehensive survey of the impact of metal ion transport and homeostasis for E. coli colonization capacities within the murine intestinal tract. Seven days following peroral infection of conventional mice with E. coli Nissle 1917 strains exhibiting defined defects in zinc or iron uptake, the respective mutant and parental strains could be cultured at comparable, but low levels from the colonic lumen. We next reassociated gnotobiotic mice in which the microbiota responsible for colonization resistance was abrogated by broad-spectrum antibiotics with six different E. coli K12 (W3110) mutants. Seven days following peroral challenge, each mutant and parental strain stably colonized duodenum, ileum, and colon at comparable levels. Taken together, defects in zinc, iron, copper, nickel, and manganese homeostasis do not compromise colonization capacities of E. coli in the murine intestinal tract.

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