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Insight into motility-dependent pathogenicity of the zoonotic spirochete Leptospira

By Jun Xu, Nobuo Koizumi, Shuichi Nakamura

Posted 12 Feb 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.02.11.944587

Bacterial motility is crucial for many pathogenic species in the process of invasion and/or dissemination. The spirochete bacteria Leptospira spp. cause symptoms, such as hemorrhage, jaundice, and nephritis, in diverse mammals including humans. Although loss-of-motility attenuate the spirochete, the mechanism of the motility-dependent pathogenicity is unknown. Here, focusing on that Leptospira spp. swim in liquid and crawl on solid surfaces, we investigated the spirochetal dynamics on the host tissues by infecting cultured kidney cells from various species with pathogenic and nonpathogenic leptospires. We found that, in the case of the pathogenic leptospires, a larger fraction of bacteria attached to the host cells and persistently traveled long distances using the crawling mechanism. Our results associate the kinetics and kinematic features of the spirochetal pathogens with their virulence. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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