Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 15158184
Microbes Infect. 2004 May;6(6):521-8
Rabbit appendix consists mainly of lymphoid follicles (LF) covered by M cells, the specialized antigen-sampling cells of the mucosal immune system, and surrounded by glandular epithelium. Until now, these M cells have been characterized morphologically and histologically by using cellular markers. Here, the adhesion and transport of pathogenic bacteria were investigated to assess the function of M cells of the appendix. We used the enteroinvasive motile Salmonella typhimurium and the rabbit enteropathogenic non-motile Escherichia coli RDEC-1, which are known to target specifically rabbit M cells of Peyer’s patches (PPs). We found that S. typhimurium efficiently attached and was transported through appendix M cells in vivo. In contrast to S. typhimurium, RDEC-1 targeted M cells only ex vivo, when bacteria were allowed to have direct contact with the surface of the follicle. The difference in interaction of the two bacteria with appendix M cells led us to investigate whether this could be correlated with the lack of motility of RDEC-1. We used an aflagellate mutant of S. typhimurium and found that it had the same infection phenotype as RDEC-1. Gene complementation restored the efficiency of infection to that of S. typhimurium wild-type strain. In conclusion, we show that M cells of the appendix display features of the canonical M cells of PP, since they efficiently sample luminal pathogenic bacteria. However, due to the morphology of the appendix, motile bacteria appear to be more potent in their interactions with appendix M cells.