Streptococcus uberis internalizes and persists in bovine mammary epithelial cells

Batcha Tamilselvam, Raúl A. Almeida, John R. Dunlap, Stephen P. Oliver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Streptococcus uberis is one of the most important emerging bovine mastitis pathogens and chronic persistent intramammary infections (IMI) are often described. To define the ability of S. uberis to persist intracellularly, studies on time-dependent internalization and survival of S. uberis strains in bovine mammary epithelial cells were conducted. Two S. uberis strains (UT366 and UT888) and a Staphylococcus aureus strain used as positive control, all isolated from cows with clinical mastitis were cocultured with bovine mammary epithelial cells (MAC-T) and persistent survival in host epithelial cells for extended periods (120 h) studied. Of S. uberis strains tested, UT366 showed highest internalization values at 60 min of incubation whereas at 8 h of incubation the corresponding values for UT888 were the highest. Of both strains of S. uberis tested, UT366 seems to internalize bovine mammary cells more efficiently initially, however, during the first 8 h, UT888 seems to survive intracellularly better than UT366. Results showed that both S. uberis strains could survive intracellularly up to 120 h without apparent loss of host cells viability. S. aureus internalized more efficiently than all strains tested and host cell death was observed after 72 h of incubation. These results indicate that S. uberis can survive within mammary epithelial cells for extended time without apparent loss of host cells viability. Intracellular persistence of S. uberis may be associated with the spread of the infection to deeper tissues and development of persistent IMI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-285
Number of pages7
JournalMicrobial Pathogenesis
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Bovine mastitis
  • Intracellular persistence
  • Pathogenesis
  • Streptococcus uberis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases


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