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Mol Microbiol. 2001 Jan;39(1):79-88.

Fis, a DNA nucleoid-associated protein, is involved in Salmonella typhimurium SPI-1 invasion gene expression.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Iowa School of Medicine, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.


The ability of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium to cause disease depends upon the co-ordinated expression of many genes located around the Salmonella chromosome. Specific pathogenicity loci, termed Salmonella pathogenicity islands, have been shown to be crucial for the invasion and survival of Salmonella within host cells. Salmonella pathogenicity island 1 (SPI-1) harbours the genes required for the stimulation of Salmonella uptake across the intestinal epithelia of the infected host. Regulation of SPI-1 genes is complex, as invasion gene expression responds to a number of different signals, presumably signals similar to those found within the environment of the intestinal tract. As a result of our continued studies of SPI-1 gene regulation, we have discovered that the nucleoid-binding protein Fis plays a pivotal role in the expression of HilA and InvF, two activators of SPI-1 genes. A S. typhimurium fis mutant demonstrates a two- to threefold reduction in hilA:Tn5lacZY and a 10-fold reduction in invF:Tn5lacZY expression, as well as a 50-fold decreased ability to invade HEp-2 tissue culture cells. This decreased expression of hilA and invF resulted in an altered secreted invasion protein profile in the fis mutant. Furthermore, the virulence of a S. typhimurium fis mutant is attenuated 100-fold when administered orally, but has wild-type virulence when administered intraperitoneally. Expression of hilA:Tn5lacZY and invF:Tn5lacZY in the fis mutant could be restored by introducing a plasmid containing the S. typhimurium fis gene or a plasmid containing hilD, a gene encoding an AraC-like regulator of Salmonella invasion genes.

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