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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2006 Feb;72(2):1055-64.

Identification of genes associated with survival of Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis in chicken egg albumen.

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  • 1Program in Infectious Diseases and Immunity, School of Public Health, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.


Salmonella enterica consists of over 2,000 serovars that are major causes of morbidity and mortality associated with contaminated food. Despite similarities among serovars of Salmonella enterica, many demonstrate unique host specificities, epidemiological characteristics, and clinical manifestations. One of the unique epidemiological characteristics of the serovar Enteritidis is that it is the only bacterium routinely transmitted to humans through intact chicken eggs. Therefore, Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis must be able to persist inside chicken eggs to be transmitted to humans, and its survival in egg is important for its transmission to the human population. The ability of Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis to survive in and transmit through eggs may have contributed to its drastically increased prevalence in the 1980s and 1990s. In the present study, using transposon-mediated mutagenesis, we have identified genes important for the association of Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis with chicken eggs. Our results indicate that genes involved in cell wall structural and functional integrity, and nucleic acid and amino acid metabolism are important for Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis to persist in egg albumen. Two regions unique to Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis were also identified, one of which enhanced the survival of a Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium isolate in egg albumen. The implication of our results to the serovar specificity of Salmonella enterica is also explored in the present study.

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