A dual fluorescence flow cytometric analysis of bacterial adherence to mammalian host cells


Flow cytometry has provided a powerful tool for analyzing bacteria–host cell associations. Established approaches have used bacteria, labeled either directly with fluorochromes or indirectly with fluorescently conjugated antibodies, to detect these associations. Although useful, these techniques are consistently unable to include all host cells in the analysis while excluding free, aggregated bacteria. This study describes a new flow cytometry method of assessing bacterial adherence to host cells based on direct fluorescent labeling of both bacteria and host cells. Eukaryotic host cells were labeled with PKH-26, a red fluorescent dye, and bacteria were labeled with fluorescein isothiocyanate, a green fluorescent dye. The red host cells were gated and the mean green fluorescence intensity (MFI) of these red cells was determined. We used MFI values obtained from control samples (unlabeled and labeled host cells with unlabeled bacteria) to eliminate contributions due to autofluorescence. The final MFI values represent fluorescence of host cells resulting from the adherent bacteria. Because all red fluorescent cells are analyzed, this method includes all the eukaryotic cells for analysis but excludes all free or aggregated bacteria that are not bound to target cells.

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Journal of Microbiological Methods



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