MBio 12 (1) - [2021-01-12; online 2021-01-12]
Enterobacterial pathogens infect the gut by a multistep process, resulting in colonization of both the lumen and the mucosal epithelium. Due to experimental constraints, it remains challenging to address how luminal and epithelium-lodged pathogen populations cross-feed each other in vivo Enteroids are cultured three-dimensional miniature intestinal organs with a single layer of primary intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) surrounding a central lumen. They offer new opportunities to study enterobacterial infection under near-physiological conditions, at a temporal and spatial resolution not attainable in animal models, but remain poorly explored in this context. We employed microinjection, time-lapse microscopy, bacterial genetics, and barcoded consortium infections to describe the complete infection cycle of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium in both human and murine enteroids. Flagellar motility and type III secretion system 1 (TTSS-1) promoted Salmonella Typhimurium targeting of the intraepithelial compartment and breaching of the epithelial barrier. Strikingly, however, TTSS-1 also potently boosted colonization of the enteroid lumen. By tracing the infection over time, we identified a cycle(s) of TTSS-1-driven IEC invasion, intraepithelial replication, and reemergence through infected IEC expulsion as a key mechanism for Salmonella Typhimurium luminal colonization. These findings suggest a positive feed-forward loop, through which IEC invasion by planktonic bacteria fuels further luminal population expansion, thereby ensuring efficient colonization of both the intraepithelial and luminal niches.IMPORTANCE Pathogenic gut bacteria are common causes of intestinal disease. Enteroids-cultured three-dimensional replicas of the mammalian gut-offer an emerging model system to study disease mechanisms under conditions that recapitulate key features of the intestinal tract. In this study, we describe the full life cycle of the prototype gut pathogen Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium within human and mouse enteroids. We map the consecutive steps and define the bacterial virulence factors that drive colonization of luminal and epithelial compartments, as well as breaching of the epithelial barrier. Strikingly, our work reveals how bacterial colonization of the epithelium potently fuels expansion also in the luminal compartment, through a mechanism involving the death and expulsion of bacterium-infected epithelial cells. These findings have repercussions for our understanding of the Salmonella infection cycle. Moreover, our work provides a comprehensive foundation for the use of microinjected enteroids to model gut bacterial diseases.