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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Aug;73(15):4905-14. Epub 2007 May 18.

Physiological and molecular responses of Lactuca sativa to colonization by Salmonella enterica serovar Dublin.

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  • 1Wageningen University and Research Centre, Plant Research International BV, Droevendaalsesteeg 1, 6709 PB Wageningen, The Netherlands.


This paper describes the physiological and molecular interactions between the human-pathogenic organism Salmonella enterica serovar Dublin and the commercially available mini Roman lettuce cv. Tamburo. The association of S. enterica serovar Dublin with lettuce plants was first determined, which indicated the presence of significant populations outside and inside the plants. The latter was evidenced from significant residual concentrations after highly efficient surface disinfection (99.81%) and fluorescence microscopy of S. enterica serovar Dublin in cross sections of lettuce at the root-shoot transition region. The plant biomass was reduced significantly compared to that of noncolonized plants upon colonization with S. enterica serovar Dublin. In addition to the physiological response, transcriptome analysis by cDNA amplified fragment length polymorphism analysis also provided clear differential gene expression profiles between noncolonized and colonized lettuce plants. From these, generally and differentially expressed genes were selected and identified by sequence analysis, followed by reverse transcription-PCR displaying the specific gene expression profiles in time. Functional grouping of the expressed genes indicated a correlation between colonization of the plants and an increase in expressed pathogenicity-related genes. This study indicates that lettuce plants respond to the presence of S. enterica serovar Dublin at physiological and molecular levels, as shown by the reduction in growth and the concurrent expression of pathogenicity-related genes. In addition, it was confirmed that Salmonella spp. can colonize the interior of lettuce plants, thus potentially imposing a human health risk when processed and consumed.

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