Segmented filamentous bacteria (SFB) are Gram-positive, anaerobic, spore-forming commensals that reside in the gut of many animal species. Described more than forty years ago, SFB have recently gained interest due to their unique ability to modulate the host immune system through induction of IgA and Th17 cells. Here, we describe a collection of methods to detect and quantify SFB and SFB adhesion in intestinal mucosa, as well as SFB-specific CD4 T cells in the lamina propria. In addition, we describe methods for purification of SFB from fecal material of SFB-monoassociated gnotobiotic mice. Using these methods we examine the kinetics of SFB colonization and Th17 cell induction. We also show that SFB colonize unevenly the intestinal mucosa and that SFB adherence occurs predominantly in the terminal ileum and correlates with an increased proportion of SFB-specific Th17 cells.
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