Epithelial cells that lack the CFTR protein cannot take up bacteria by endocytosis. Endocytosis is an important part of the respiratory tract's immune defenses against common Pseudomonas bacteria, which is why Pseudomonas infections of the lungs are a chronic problem in cystic fibrosis patients. Endocytosis is also the way that Salmonella typhi bacteria (shown at right) enter cells of the gastrointestinal tract, where internalization of this bacteria can result in typhoid fever.
Typhoid fever is a common worldwide disease. Its symptoms include extreme fever and diarrhea, and the resulting dehydration causes delirium that may last several weeks. If untreated, it kills up to 30 percent of those infected. Around 600,000 people, most of whom are children, die annually from typhoid fever.
Gerald Pier and his colleagues compared the uptake of S. typhi by different types of epithelial cells: those homozygous for the normal allele, and those heterozygous for the ∆F508 allele associated with CF. (Cells that are homozygous for the mutation do not take up any S. typhi bacteria.) Some of their results are shown in FIGURE 13.16.
Regarding the Ty2 strain of S. typhi, about how many more bacteria were able to enter normal cells than cells heterozygous for the ∆F508 allele?
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