High-throughput Parallel Sequencing to Measure Fitness of Leptospira interrogans Transposon Insertion Mutants During Golden Syrian Hamster Infection

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In this manuscript, we describe a transposon sequencing (Tn-Seq) technique to identify and quantify Leptospira interrogans mutants altered in fitness during infection of Golden Syrian hamsters. Tn-Seq combines random transposon mutagenesis with the power of high-throughput sequencing technology. Animals are challenged with a pool of transposon mutants (input pool), followed by harvesting of blood and tissues a few days later to identify and quantify the number of mutants in each organ (output pools). The output pools are compared to the input pool to evaluate the in vivo fitness of each mutant. This approach enables screening of a large pool of mutants in a limited number of animals. With minor modifications, this protocol can be performed with any animal model of leptospirosis, reservoir host models such as rats and acute infection models such as hamsters, as well as in vitro studies. Tn-Seq provides a powerful tool to screen for mutants with in vivo and in vitro fitness defects.