The role of Streptococcus zooepidemicus persister cells during endometritis in the natural equine host.
Streptoccocus equi subspecies zooepidemicus (S. zooepidemicus) is an opportunistic pathogen colonizing the mucus membranes of various animal species, yet it has also remained the most frequent cause of endometritis and lowered breading efficacy in mares for decades.
Recently, S. zooepidemicus was found to cause persister-like infections deep within the endometrium of mares despite antimicrobial treatment and a fully functional endometrial immune system.
In this project, we are investigating the formation and regulation of S. zooepidemicus persisters. In general, bacterial persister cells are thought to enter a slow-growing or dormant state, making them tolerant to antibiotic treatment and other environmental stress factors. In this project, we aim to isolate persistent S. zooepidemicus cells in vitro and characterize the mechanisms involved in the formation and re-activation of those persisters. Moreover, we investigate and verify the mechanism of persistence in vivo through experimental inoculation of mares.