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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Alternative methods to limit extracellular bacterial activity for enumeration of intracellular bacteria.

The gentamicin survival assay, a method routinely used to estimate bacterial infection of eukaryotic host cells, depends on the presumed limited penetration of gentamicin across the eukaryotic cell membrane. However, some studies have suggested that gentamicin may in fact enter eukaryotic cells and kill intracellular bacteria. In this study we devised alternative methods to enumerate intracellular Salmonellae using a lytic bacteriophage, SP6, and an amino acid auxotroph, Pro- mutant, which replicates selectively within host cells in the presence of its uptake inhibitor, 3,4-dehydro-L-proline. The conventional gentamicin survival assay was systematically compared with the alternative methods for the enumeration of intracellular Salmonellae. We found that gentamicin decreases the survival of intracellular Salmonellae when added to extracellular media at concentrations above 20 microg/ml. The alternative methods do not suffer from this disadvantage, suggesting that they should be used to replace the gentamicin survival assay. In addition, the proline auxotroph method could be applied to detect bacterial release from host cells.[1]


  1. Alternative methods to limit extracellular bacterial activity for enumeration of intracellular bacteria. Kim, H.J., Kim, E.Y., Hong, Y., Rhee, J.H., Choy, H.E. J. Microbiol. Methods (2006) [Pubmed]
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