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Recent Publications by IM Students and Faculty - January 2021

Below are recent publications by IM students, faculty, and affiliates. Would you like your research showcased? Send your paper to in time for the next edition!

Bold Indicates ISU faculty and affiliates 

^Indicates publications by IM students

1. Stromberg ZR*, RE. Masonbrink, and M Mellata 2020 Transcriptomic Analysis of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli during Initial Contact with Cattle Colonic Explants. Microorganisms. MDPI

Abstract: Foodborne pathogens are a public health threat globally. Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC), particularly O26, O111, and O157 STEC, are often associated with foodborne illness in humans. To create effective preharvest interventions, it is critical to understand which factors STEC strains use to colonize the gastrointestinal tract of cattle, which serves as the reservoir for these pathogens. Several colonization factors are known, but little is understood about initial STEC colonization factors. Our objective was to identify these factors via contrasting gene expression between nonpathogenic E. coli and STEC. Colonic explants were inoculated with nonpathogenic E. coli strain MG1655 or STEC strains (O26, O111, or O157), bacterial colonization levels were determined, and RNA was isolated and sequenced. STEC strains adhered to colonic explants at numerically but not significantly higher levels compared to MG1655. After incubation with colonic explants, flagellin (fliC) was upregulated (log2 fold-change = 4.0, p < 0.0001) in O157 STEC, and collectively, Lon protease (lon) was upregulated (log2 fold-change = 3.6, p = 0.0009) in STEC strains compared to MG1655. These results demonstrate that H7 flagellum and Lon protease may play roles in early colonization and could be potential targets to reduce colonization in cattle.


2. ^Redweik GAJ., MH. Kogut, RJ. Arsenault, and M. Mellata. 2020 Oral Treatment with Ileal Spores Triggers Immunometabolic Shifts in Chicken Gut. Front. Vet. Sci., 08 September 2020. Doi

Abstract: The animal gut is a major site affecting productivity via its role in mediating functions like food conversion and pathogen colonization. Live microorganisms like probiotics are widely used to improve poultry productivity. However, given that chicks receive their microbiota from the environment at-hatch, a bacterial treatment that can stimulate gut immune maturation in early life can benefit animal health. Thus, our lab has begun investigating alternative means to improve poultry health via single inoculation with microbial spores. In this study, we orally-inoculated day-old chicks with ileal scrapings (ISs) enriched for spores via chloroform treatment (SPORE) or non-treated (CON). At 3, 7, and 14 days post-inoculation (dpi), gut permeability was measured via FITC-dextran assay in serum. Additionally, small intestinal scrapings (SISs) were tested for in vitro Salmonella killing and total IgA. Lastly, distal ileum was either fixed or flash-frozen for microscopy or kinome peptide array, respectively. Using bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequencing, SPORE and CON inocula were highly-similar in bacterial composition. However, spores were detected in SPORE but not in CON inoculum. Segmented filamentous bacteria (SFB) filaments were observed in the distal ileum in SPORE birds as early as 3 dpi and all birds at 7 and 14 dpi. Additionally, SFB were detected via PCR in the ceca, colonizing all SPORE birds at 3 dpi. At 3 dpi, SPORE birds exhibited lower gut permeability vs. CON. In SPORE birds, SISs induced greater Salmonella growth in vitroat 3 dpi yet significantly-reduced Salmonella load at 7 and 14 dpi compared to CON in an IgA-independent manner. SPORE distal ileal tissue exhibited unique upregulation of several immunometabolic processes vs. CON birds, including innate (Toll-like receptor, JAK-STAT) and adaptive (T/B cell receptor, TH17 differentiation) immune pathways, PI3K/Akt signaling, mTOR signaling, and insulin-related pathways. Collectively, these data suggest oral inoculation with ileal spores generally-improved gut health.

3. ^Redweik GAJ., ^J. Jochum, and M. Mellata. 2020 Live Bacterial Prophylactics in Modern Poultry. Front. Vet. Sci.  (IF 2.2245). Doi

Abstract:Commercial poultry farms frequently use live bacterial prophylactics like vaccines and probiotics to prevent bacterial infections. Due to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in poultry animals, a closer examination into the health benefits and limitations of commercial, live prophylactics as an alternative to antibiotics is urgently needed. In this review, we summarize the peer-reviewed literature of several commercial live bacterial vaccines and probiotics. Per our estimation, there is a paucity of peer-reviewed published research regarding these products, making repeatability, product-comparison, and understanding biological mechanisms difficult. Furthermore, we briefly-outline significant issues such as probiotic-label accuracy, lack of commercially available live bacterial vaccines for major poultry-related bacteria such as Campylobacter and Clostridium perfringens, as well research gaps (i.e., probiotic-mediated vaccine adjuvancy, gut-brain-microbiota axis). Increased emphasis on these areas would open several avenues for research, ranging from improving protection against bacterial pathogens to using these prophylactics to modulate animal behavior.