Establishment of caprine airway epithelial cells grown in an air-liquid interface system to study caprine respiratory viruses and bacteria

Vet Microbiol. 2021 Jun:257:109067. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2021.109067. Epub 2021 Apr 10.


Respiratory diseases negatively impact the global goat industry, but are understudied. There is a shortage of established and biological relevant in vitro or ex vivo assays to study caprine respiratory infections. Here, we describe the establishment of an in vitro system based on well-differentiated caprine airway epithelial cell (AEC) cultures grown under air liquid interface conditions as an experimental platform to study caprine respiratory pathogens. The functional differentiation of the AEC cultures was monitored and confirmed by light and immunofluorescence microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and examination of histological sections. We validated the functionality of the platform by studying Influenza D Virus (IDV) infection and Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. capri (Mmc) colonization over 5 days, including monitoring of infectious agents by titration and qPCR as well as colour changing units, respectively. The inoculation of caprine AEC cultures with IDV showed that efficient viral replication takes place, and revealed that IDV has a marked cell tropism for ciliated cells. Furthermore, AEC cultures were successfully infected with Mmc using a multiplicity of infection of 0.1 and colonization was monitored over several days. Altogether, these results demonstrate that our newly-established caprine AEC cultures can be used to investigate host-pathogen interactions of caprine respiratory pathogens.

Keywords: AECs; ALI; Air liquid interface; Airway epithelial cell culture; Goat; Influenza D virus; Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. capri.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bronchi / cytology
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Cell Culture Techniques / veterinary*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Epithelial Cells / microbiology*
  • Epithelial Cells / virology*
  • Goats
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Mycoplasma / physiology
  • Respiratory Mucosa / microbiology*
  • Respiratory Mucosa / virology*
  • Respiratory System / cytology*
  • Thogotovirus / physiology
  • Viral Tropism
  • Virus Replication / physiology

Supplementary concepts

  • Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. capri