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Microbes Infect. 2001 Nov-Dec;3(14-15):1261-9.

Bacterial virulence, proinflammatory cytokines and host immunity: how to choose the appropriate Salmonella vaccine strain?

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Department of Immunology, Max-Planck-Institut für Infektionsbiologie, Schumannstrasse 21/22, 10117 Berlin, Germany.


Salmonella infection in its mammalian host can be dissected into two main components. The co-ordinate expression of bacterial virulence genes which are designed to evade, subvert or circumvent the host response on the one hand, and the host defence mechanisms which are designed to restrict bacterial survival and replication on the other hand. The outcome of infection is determined by the one which succeeds in disturbing this equilibrium more efficiently. This delicate balance between Salmonella virulence and host immunity/inflammation has important implications for vaccine development or therapeutic intervention. Novel Salmonella vaccine candidates and live carriers for heterologous antigens are attenuated strains with defined genetic modifications of metabolic or virulence functions. Although genetic defects of different gene loci can lead to similar degrees of attenuation, effects on the course of infection may vary, thereby altering the quality of the elicited immune response. Studies with gene-deficient animals indicate that Salmonella typhimurium strains with mutations in aroA, phoP/phoQ or ssrA/ssrB invoke different immune responses and that a differential repertoire of pro-inflammatory cytokines is required for clearance. Consequently, Salmonella mutants defective in distinct virulence functions offer the potential to specifically modulate the immune response for defined medical applications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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