Basic Services|Germ Free

Background

Germ free defined as free of all foreign life forms (e.g., bacteria, viruses, etc.). Germ free rodents adapt anatomically and physiologically to environment devoid of microflora. They have greater nutritional requirements but grow and breed similar to rodents raised in conventional or specific pathogen free (SPF) conditions. Germ free animals are major means to obtain data about the relationship between host and its microflora including in immunology, neurology, diet and nutrition and more.

The germ-free-facility

The germ-free mouse facility at the Weizmann institute of science is situated at the Lorry Lokey building (MAMTAK). In the facility, mice are housed in semi-rigid isolators (Park Bioservices, LLC) in which they remain free of all bacteria, exogenous viruses, fungi, and parasites.
Any equipment, supplies and experimental substance that enter the isolator must be first sterilized by autoclave, irradiation or gas. Regular monitoring of the germ free status is done by the Institute`s Diagnostic and Quality Assurance Laboratory, using qPCR and standard culturing of fresh feces, water and food.
The germ free facility is sub divided into breeding and experimental units.
The breeding facility currently has numerous breeding isolators to maintain strains. The experimental unit has 2 experimental isolators and 2 racks of isocages (Techniplast). These are used to maintain the germ-free or gnotobiotic (all life forms are known) status of the mice during experiments. Germ free mice that were inoculated with SPF flora can be transferred to other (SPF) facilities (following permission).
For colonization studies, germ-free mice can be inoculated with a suspension of a specific microbe (mono-colonization), a defined group of microbes, or a polymicrobial mixture. These defined microbial populations are regularly established and used in our facility to study microbiome-host interactions.

Current mouse strains:

  • Outbred Swiss Webster (Taconic)
  • C57BL/6J (obtained from Hanover University)
  • Balb/c (obtained from Hanover University)

Other strains or mutants can be rendered germ free by rederivation following request of the PI and IACUC approval. In addition, germ free mice can be imported and exported using a customized germ free shipper.

The professional personnel will be pleased to assist and answer any other questions.

The team: Carmit Bar-Natan, Efrat Aziza, Shay Arazi, Elena Golodnitsky, Amos Yitzak 

Attending veterinarian: Gil Hecht

Publications

  • Gotkine M, Kviatcovsky D, Elinav E.
    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and intestinal microbiota-toward establishing cause and effect.
    Gut Microbes. 2020 Nov 1;11(6):1833-1841. PMID: 32501768
  • Blacher E, Bashiardes S, Shapiro H, Rothschild D, Mor U, Dori-Bachash M, Kleimeyer C, Moresi C, Harnik Y, Zur M, Zabari M, Brik RB, Kviatcovsky D, Zmora N, Cohen Y, Bar N, Levi I, Amar N, Mehlman T, Brandis A, Biton I, Kuperman Y, Tsoory M, Alfahel L, Harmelin A, Schwartz M, Israelson A, Arike L, Johansson MEV, Hansson GC, Gotkine M, Segal E, Elinav E.
    Potential roles of gut microbiome and metabolites in modulating ALS in mice.
    ​​​​​​​Nature. 2019 Aug;572(7770):474-480. PMID: 31330533
  • ​​​​​​​Leshem A, Horesh N, Elinav E.
    Fecal Microbial Transplantation and Its Potential Application in Cardiometabolic Syndrome.
    Front Immunol. 2019 Jun 14;10:1341. PMID: 31258528
  • ​​​​​​​Zmora N, Zilberman-Schapira G, Suez J, Mor U, Dori-Bachash M, Bashiardes S, Kotler E, Zur M, Regev-Lehavi D, Brik RB, Federici S, Cohen Y, Linevsky R, Rothschild D, Moor AE, Ben-Moshe S, Harmelin A, Itzkovitz S, Maharshak N, Shibolet O, Shapiro H, Pevsner-Fischer M, Sharon I, Halpern Z, Segal E, Elinav E.
    Personalized Gut Mucosal Colonization Resistance to Empiric Probiotics Is Associated with Unique Host and Microbiome Features.
    Cell. 2018 Sep 6;174(6):1388-1405.e21. PMID: 30193112
  • Thaiss CA, Itav S, Rothschild D, Meijer MT, Levy M, Moresi C, Dohnalová L, Braverman S, Rozin S, Malitsky S, Dori-Bachash M, Kuperman Y, Biton I, Gertler A, Harmelin A, Shapiro H, Halpern Z, Aharoni A, Segal E, Elinav E.
    Persistent microbiome alterations modulate the rate of post-dieting weight regain.
    Nature. 2016 Dec 22;540(7634):544-551. PMID: 27906159
  • Gury-BenAri M, Thaiss CA, Serafini N, Winter DR, Giladi A, Lara-Astiaso D, Levy M, Salame TM, Weiner A, David E, Shapiro H, Dori-Bachash M, Pevsner-Fischer M, Lorenzo-Vivas E, Keren-Shaul H, Paul F, Harmelin A, Eberl G, Itzkovitz S, Tanay A, Di Santo JP, Elinav E, Amit I.
    The Spectrum and Regulatory Landscape of Intestinal Innate Lymphoid Cells Are Shaped by the Microbiome.
    Cell. 2016 Aug 25;166(5):1231-1246.e13. PMID: 27545347
  • Thaiss CA, Zeevi D, Levy M, Zilberman-Schapira G, Suez J, Tengeler AC, Abramson L, Katz MN, Korem T, Zmora N, Kuperman Y, Biton I, Gilad S, Harmelin A, Shapiro H, Halpern Z, Segal E, Elinav E
    Transkingdom control of microbiota diurnal oscillations promotes metabolic homeostasis.
    Cell. 2014 Oct 23;159(3):514-29. PMID: 25417104
  • Suez J, Korem T, Zeevi D, Zilberman-Schapira G, Thaiss CA, Maza O, Israeli D, Zmora N, Gilad S, Weinberger A, Kuperman Y, Harmelin A, Kolodkin-Gal I, Shapiro H, Halpern Z, Segal E, Elinav E.
    Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota.
    Nature. 2014 Oct 9;514(7521):181-6. PMID: 25231862
  • Hecht G, Bar-Nathan C, Milite G, Alon I, Moshe Y, Greenfeld L, Dotsenko N, Suez J, Levy M, Thaiss CA, Dafni H, Elinav E, Harmelin A.
    A simple cage-autonomous method for the maintenance of the barrier status of germ-free mice during experimentation.
    Lab Anim. 2014 Oct;48(4):292-7. PMID: 25097255