The Mouse as a Model for Pulmonary Legionella Infection
Infection of C57BL/6 mice with wild-type Legionella pneumophila typically results in very mild disease. However, in mice where the cytosolic recognition of flagellin is impaired by mutation, L. pneumophila infection results in more severe lung inflammation that is reminiscent of Legionnaires’ disease. This can be replicated in wild-type mice by using aflagellated mutants of L. pneumophila. These models greatly facilitate the investigation of L. pneumophila virulence factors and the complex pulmonary immune system that is triggered by infection. Here we describe methods for infecting C57BL/6 mice with aflagellated L. pneumophila, the quantification of bacterial load in the lungs and isolation and analysis of invading immune cells. These assays enable the identification of phagocyte subsets and can determine whether phagocytic cells act as a replicative niche for L. pneumophila replication.
Key wordsPneumonia Legionella Phagocytes Flow cytometry Mucosal immunology Bacterial infection