Capsule is a key virulence factor in many bacterial species, mediating immune evasion and resistance to various physical stresses. While many methods are available to quantify and compare capsule production between different strains or mutants, there is no widely used method for sorting bacteria based on how much capsule they produce. We have developed a method to separate bacteria by capsule amount, using a discontinuous density gradient. This method is used to compare capsule amounts semi-quantitatively between cultures, to isolate mutants with altered capsule production, and to purify capsulated bacteria from complex samples. This method can also be coupled with transposon-insertion sequencing to identify genes involved in capsule regulation. Here, the method is demonstrated in detail, including how to optimize the gradient conditions for a new bacterial species or strain, and how to construct and run the density gradient.
- Discontinuous density gradient
- Issue 143