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First published in Frontiers in Microbiology, v15 (2024) published by Frontiers Media S.A. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2024.1322303

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biofilm, Enterococcus faecalis, Helicoverpa zea, persistence, sortase

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Frontiers in Microbiology




Enterococcus faecalis is a commensal and opportunistic pathogen in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract of mammals and insects. To investigate mechanisms of bacterial persistence in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), we developed a non-destructive sampling model using Helicoverpa zea, a destructive agricultural pest, as host to study the role of bacterial sortase enzymes in mitigating persistence in the gastrointestinal tract. E. faecalis OG1RF ΔsrtA and E. faecalis OG1RF ΔsrtC, isogenic E. faecalis OG1RF sortase mutants grew similarly under planktonic growth conditions relative to a streptomycin-resistant E. faecalis OG1RFS WT in vitro but displayed impaired biofilm formation under, both, physiological and alkaline conditions. In the H. zea GI model, both mutants displayed impaired persistence relative to the WT. This represents one of the initial reports in which a non-destructive insect model has been used to characterize mechanisms of bacterial persistence in the Lepidopteran midgut and, furthermore, sheds light on new molecular mechanisms employed by diverse microorganisms to associate with invertebrate hosts.


Department of Biology

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UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa


© 2024 Jackson, Heyer and Bell. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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