Effects of fermentation products of the commensal bacterium Clostridium ramosum on motility, intracellular pH, and flagellar synthesis of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli

  • Jun Xu
  • Yukako Koyanagi
  • Emiko Isogai
  • Shuichi NakamuraEmail author
Original Paper


The flagellum and motility are crucial virulence factors for many pathogenic bacteria. In general, pathogens invade and translocate through motility and adhere to specific tissue via flagella. Therefore, the motility and flagella of pathogens are effectual targets for attenuation. Here, we show that the fermentation products of Clostridium ramosum, a commensal intestinal bacterium, decrease the intracellular pH of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) and influence its swimming motility. Quantifications of flagellar rotation in individual EHEC cells showed an increase in reversal frequency and a decrease in rotation rate in the presence of C. ramosum fermentation products. Furthermore, the C. ramosum fermentation products affected synthesis of flagellar filaments. The results were reproduced by a combination of organic acids under acidic conditions. Short-chain fatty acids produced by microbes in the gut flora are beneficial for the host, e.g. they prevent infection. Thus, C. ramosum could affect the physiologies of other enteric microbes and host tissues.


EHEC Clostridium ramosum Motility Flagella Fermentation Organic acids 



We thank S. Kudo (Tohoku University) for the technical support. This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI (Grant Number 18J10834).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors do not have potential conflict of interest to disclose.

Ethical statement

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

203_2019_1656_MOESM1_ESM.docx (451 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 451 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Animal Microbiology, Graduate School of Agricultural ScienceTohoku UniversitySendaiJapan
  2. 2.Department of Applied Physics, Graduate School of EngineeringTohoku UniversitySendaiJapan

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