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Tracking Inhibitory Alterations during Interstrain Clostridium difficile Interactions by Monitoring Cell Envelope Capacitance

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posted on 22.06.2016 by Yi-Hsuan Su, Ali Rohani, Cirle A. Warren, Nathan S. Swami
Global threats arising from the increasing use of antibiotics coupled with the high recurrence rates of Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infections (CDI) after standard antibiotic treatments highlight the role of commensal probiotic microorganisms, including nontoxigenic C. difficile (NTCD) strains in preventing CDI due to highly toxigenic C. difficile (HTCD) strains. However, optimization of the inhibitory permutations due to commensal interactions in the microbiota requires probes capable of monitoring phenotypic alterations to C. difficile cells. Herein, by monitoring the field screening behavior of the C. difficile cell envelope with respect to cytoplasmic polarization, we demonstrate that inhibition of the host-cell colonization ability of HTCD due to the S-layer alterations occurring after its co-culture with NTCD can be quantitatively tracked on the basis of the capacitance of the cell envelope of co-cultured HTCD. Furthermore, it is shown that effective inhibition requires the dynamic contact of HTCD cells with freshly secreted extracellular factors from NTCD because contact with the cell-free supernatant causes only mild inhibition. We envision a rapid method for screening the inhibitory permutations to arrest C. difficile colonization by routinely probing alterations in the HTCD dielectrophoretic frequency response due to variations in the capacitance of its cell envelope.

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