Spaceflight Analogue Culture Enhances the Host-Pathogen Interaction Between Salmonella and a 3-D Biomimetic Intestinal Co-Culture Model

Jennifer Barrila, Jiseon Yang, Karla P. Franco Meléndez, Shanshan Yang, Kristina Buss, Trenton J. Davis, Bruce J. Aronow, Heather D. Bean, Richard R. Davis, Rebecca J. Forsyth, C. Mark Ott, Sandhya Gangaraju, Bianca Y. Kang, Brian Hanratty, Seth D. Nydam, Eric A. Nauman, Wei Kong, Jason Steel, Cheryl A. Nickerson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Physical forces associated with spaceflight and spaceflight analogue culture regulate a wide range of physiological responses by both bacterial and mammalian cells that can impact infection. However, our mechanistic understanding of how these environments regulate host-pathogen interactions in humans is poorly understood. Using a spaceflight analogue low fluid shear culture system, we investigated the effect of Low Shear Modeled Microgravity (LSMMG) culture on the colonization of Salmonella Typhimurium in a 3-D biomimetic model of human colonic epithelium containing macrophages. RNA-seq profiling of stationary phase wild type and Δhfq mutant bacteria alone indicated that LSMMG culture induced global changes in gene expression in both strains and that the RNA binding protein Hfq played a significant role in regulating the transcriptional response of the pathogen to LSMMG culture. However, a core set of genes important for adhesion, invasion, and motility were commonly induced in both strains. LSMMG culture enhanced the colonization (adherence, invasion and intracellular survival) of Salmonella in this advanced model of intestinal epithelium using a mechanism that was independent of Hfq. Although S. Typhimurium Δhfq mutants are normally defective for invasion when grown as conventional shaking cultures, LSMMG conditions unexpectedly enabled high levels of colonization by an isogenic Δhfq mutant. In response to infection with either the wild type or mutant, host cells upregulated transcripts involved in inflammation, tissue remodeling, and wound healing during intracellular survival. Interestingly, infection by the Δhfq mutant led to fewer transcriptional differences between LSMMG- and control-infected host cells relative to infection with the wild type strain. This is the first study to investigate the effect of LSMMG culture on the interaction between S. Typhimurium and a 3-D model of human intestinal tissue. These findings advance our understanding of how physical forces can impact the early stages of human enteric salmonellosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number705647
JournalFrontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology
StatePublished - May 31 2022


  • Hfq
  • Rotating Wall Vessel
  • Typhimurium
  • colon
  • fluid shear
  • gene expression
  • mechanobiology
  • spaceflight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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