Growth Characteristics of Bartonella henselae in a Novel Liquid Medium: Primary Isolation, Growth-Phase-Dependent Phage Induction, and Metabolic Studies

M. R. Chenoweth, G. A. Somerville, D. C. Krause, K. L. O'Reilly, F. C. Gherardini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Bartonella henselae is a zoonotic pathogen that usually causes a self-limiting infection in immunocompetent individuals but often causes potentially life-threatening infections, such as bacillary angiomatosis, in immunocompromised patients. Both diagnosis of infection and research into the molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis have been hindered by the absence of a suitable liquid growth medium. It has been difficult to isolate B. henselae directly from the blood of infected humans or animals or to grow the bacteria in liquid culture media under laboratory conditions. Therefore, we have developed a liquid growth medium that supports reproducible in vitro growth (3-h doubling time and a growth yield of approximately 5 × 108 CFU/ml) and permits the isolation of B. henselae from the blood of infected cats. During the development of this medium, we observed that B. henselae did not derive carbon and energy from the catabolism of glucose, which is consistent with genome nucleotide sequence data suggesting an incomplete glycolytic pathway. Of interest, B. henselae depleted amino acids from the culture medium and accumulated ammonia in the medium, an indicator of amino acid catabolism. Analysis of the culture medium throughout the growth cycle revealed that oxygen was consumed and carbon dioxide was generated, suggesting that amino acids were catabolized in a tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle-dependent mechanism. Additionally, phage particles were detected in the culture supernatants of stationary-phase B. henselae, but not in mid-logarithmic-phase culture supernatants. Enzymatic assays of whole-cell lysates revealed that B. henselae has a complete TCA cycle. Taken together, these data suggest B. henselae may catabolize amino acids but not glucose to derive carbon and energy from its host. Furthermore, the newly developed culture medium should improve isolation of B. henselae and basic research into the pathogenesis of the bacterium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)656-663
Number of pages8
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Volume70
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology

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