Microfluidic Co-culture of Epithelial Cells and Bacteria for Investigating Soluble Signal-mediated Interactions Academic Article uri icon


  • The human gastrointestinal (GI) tract is a unique environment in which intestinal epithelial cells and non-pathogenic (commensal) bacteria coexist. It has been proposed that the microenvironment that the pathogen encounters in the commensal layer is important in determining the extent of colonization. Current culture methods for investigating pathogen colonization are not well suited for investigating this hypothesis as they do not enable co-culture of bacteria and epithelial cells in a manner that mimics the GI tract microenvironment. Here we describe a microfluidic co-culture model that enables independent culture of eukaryotic cells and bacteria, and testing the effect of the commensal microenvironment on pathogen colonization. The co-culture model is demonstrated by developing a commensal Escherichia coli biofilm among HeLa cells, followed by introduction of enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) into the commensal island, in a sequence that mimics the sequence of events in GI tract infection. JoVE 2006-2011 All Rights Reserved.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Visualized Experiments

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Kim, J., Hegde, M., & Jayaraman, A.

citation count

  • 14

complete list of authors

  • Kim, Jeongyun||Hegde, Manjunath||Jayaraman, Arul

publication date

  • January 2010