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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Jun 25;99(13):8784-9. Epub 2002 Jun 18.

Polynucleotide phosphorylase is a global regulator of virulence and persistency in Salmonella enterica.

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  • 1Microbiology and Tumor Biology Center, Karolinska Institute, Nobels Väg 16, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.


For many pathogens, the ability to regulate their replication in host cells is a key element in establishing persistency. Here, we identified a single point mutation in the gene for polynucleotide phosphorylase (PNPase) as a factor affecting bacterial invasion and intracellular replication, and which determines the alternation between acute or persistent infection in a mouse model for Salmonella enterica infection. In parallel, with microarray analysis, PNPase was found to affect the mRNA levels of a subset of virulence genes, in particular those contained in Salmonella pathogenicity islands 1 and 2. The results demonstrate a connection between PNPase and Salmonella virulence and show that alterations in PNPase activity could represent a strategy for the establishment of persistency.

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