We present some studies on the mechanisms of pathogenesis based on experimental work and on its interpretation through a mathematical model. Using a collection of clinical strains of the opportunistic human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, we performed co-culture experiments with Dictyostelium amoebae, to investigate the two organisms' interaction, characterized by a cross action between amoeba, feeding on bacteria, and bacteria exerting their pathogenic action against amoeba. In order to classify bacteria virulence, independently of this cross interaction, we have also performed killing experiments of bacteria against the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. A mathematical model was developed to infer how the populations of the amoeba-bacteria system evolve according to a number of parameters, taking into account the specific features underlying the interaction. The model does not fall within the class of traditional prey-predator models because not only does an amoeba feed on bacteria, but also it is in turn attacked by them; thus the model must include a feedback term modeling this further interaction aspect. The model shows the existence of multiple steady states and the resulting behavior of the solutions, showing bi-stability of the system, gives a qualitative explanation of the co-culture experiments.

Mathematical modeling of bacterial virulence and host-pathogen interactions in the Dictyostelium/Pseudomonas system

Fumanelli, Laura;
2011

Abstract

We present some studies on the mechanisms of pathogenesis based on experimental work and on its interpretation through a mathematical model. Using a collection of clinical strains of the opportunistic human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, we performed co-culture experiments with Dictyostelium amoebae, to investigate the two organisms' interaction, characterized by a cross action between amoeba, feeding on bacteria, and bacteria exerting their pathogenic action against amoeba. In order to classify bacteria virulence, independently of this cross interaction, we have also performed killing experiments of bacteria against the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. A mathematical model was developed to infer how the populations of the amoeba-bacteria system evolve according to a number of parameters, taking into account the specific features underlying the interaction. The model does not fall within the class of traditional prey-predator models because not only does an amoeba feed on bacteria, but also it is in turn attacked by them; thus the model must include a feedback term modeling this further interaction aspect. The model shows the existence of multiple steady states and the resulting behavior of the solutions, showing bi-stability of the system, gives a qualitative explanation of the co-culture experiments.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11582/19549
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