Motility-Regulated Mucin Association of Serpulina Pilosicoli, the Agent of Colonic Spirochetosis of Humans and Animals

  • Nancy A. Witters
  • Gerald E. Duhamel
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 473)


Colonic spirochetosis is a disease of humans and animals characterized by colonization of the colonic mucus gel and intimate attachment of Serpulina pilosicoli to the apical membrane of enterocytes. Motility-regulated mucin association plays a key role in colonie infection by the related spirochete Serpulina hyodysenteriae, the cause of swine dysentery. In this study the chemotaxis of Serpulina pilosicoli porcine isolate P43/6/78, human isolate SP16, and canine isolate 16242-94 was examined by anaerobic incubation of each spirochete in control medium or medium containing increasing concentrations of D-L serine or porcine gastric mucin (PGM). The porcine isolate had a chemotactic response towards 10 mM D-L serine, but not towards PGM. By contrast, the human and canine isolates were attracted towards 0.1% PGM, but not towards DL-serine. The composition of the growth medium appeared to modulate the chemotactic response of S. pilosicoli towards PGM; the loss of a chemotactic response of spirochetes grown in medium without pig fecal extract was restored by growing the spirochetes in medium containing 0.1% PGM. Serpulina pilosicoli displays a chemotactic response towards PGM which is modulated by the presence of certain substrate during the growth phase of the spirochete.


Apical Membrane Chemotactic Response Chemotaxis Assay Porcine Gastric Mucin Porcine Isolate 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nancy A. Witters
    • 1
  • Gerald E. Duhamel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Veterinary and Biomedical SciencesUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA

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