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Mol Microbiol. 1999 Jul;33(1):167-76.

Inducible prophages contribute to Salmonella virulence in mice.

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Centre de Génétique Moléculaire, CNRS, 91198 Gif-sur-Yvette, France.


We show that Salmonella typhimurium harbours two fully functional prophages, Gifsy-1 and Gifsy-2, that can be induced by standard treatments or, more effectively, by exposing bacteria to hydrogen peroxide. Curing bacteria for the Gifsy-2 prophage significantly reduces Salmonella's ability to establish a systemic infection in mice. Cured strains recover their virulence properties upon relysogenization. Phage Gifsy-2 carries the sodC gene for a periplasmic [Cu,Zn]-superoxide dismutase previously implicated in the bacterial defences against killing by macrophages. The contribution of the Gifsy-1 prophage to virulence - undetectable in the presence of Gifsy-2 as prophage - becomes significant in cells that lack Gifsy-2 but carry the sodC gene integrated in the chromosome. This confirms the involvement of Gifsy-2-encoded SodC protein in Salmonella pathogenicity and suggests that the Gifsy-1 prophage carries one or more additional virulence genes that have a functional equivalent on the Gifsy-2 genome.

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