PLoS Pathog. 2016 Oct 12;12(10):e1005887. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1005887. eCollection 2016.

Single Cell Bottlenecks in the Pathogenesis of Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Kono M1,2, Zafar MA1, Zuniga M1, Roche AM3, Hamaguchi S1, Weiser JN1.

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Herein, we studied a virulent isolate of the leading bacterial pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae in an infant mouse model of colonization, disease and transmission, both with and without influenza A (IAV) co-infection. To identify vulnerable points in the multiple steps involved in pneumococcal pathogenesis, this model was utilized for a comprehensive analysis of population bottlenecks. Our findings reveal that in the setting of IAV co-infection the organism must pass through single cell bottlenecks during bloodstream invasion from the nasopharynx within the host and in transmission between hosts. Passage through these bottlenecks was not associated with genetic adaptation by the pathogen. The bottleneck in transmission occurred between bacterial exit from one host and establishment in another explaining why the number of shed organisms in secretions is critical to overcoming it. These observations demonstrate how viral infection, and TLR-dependent innate immune responses it stimulates and that are required to control it, drive bacterial contagion.

PMID: 27732665 DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1005887

[PubMed - in process]