Multiplex imaging of polymicrobial communities—murine models to study oral microbiome interactions

Jens Kreth, Yasser M. Abdelrahman, Justin Merritt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Scopus citations


Similar to other mucosal surfaces of the body, the oral cavity hosts a diverse microbial flora that live in polymicrobial biofilm communities. It is the ecology of these communities that are the primary determinants of oral health (symbiosis) or disease (dysbiosis). As such, both symbiosis and dysbiosis are inherently polymicrobial phenomena. In an effort to facilitate studies of polymicrobial communities within rodent models, we developed a suite of synthetic luciferases suitable for multiplexed in situ analyses of microbial ecology and specific gene expression. Using this approach, it is feasible to noninvasively measure multiple luciferase signals in vivo with both spatial and temporal resolution. In the following chapter, we describe the relevant details and protocols used to establish a biophotonic imaging platform for the study of experimental polymicrobial oral biofilms and abscesses in mice. The protocols described here are specifically tailored for use with oral streptococci, but the general strategies are adaptable for a wide range of polymicrobial infection studies using other species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMethods in Molecular Biology
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages20
StatePublished - 2020

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745
ISSN (Electronic)1940-6029


  • Abscess
  • Animal model
  • Biofilm
  • Bioluminescent imaging
  • Biophotonic
  • Dental plaque
  • Luciferase
  • Microbiome
  • Polymicrobial infection
  • Streptococcus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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