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Infect Genet Evol. 2005 Jan;5(1):1-9.

Bacteriophage-encoded type III effectors in Salmonella enterica subspecies 1 serovar Typhimurium.

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Institute of Microbiology, ETH Zurich, Schmelzbergstrasse 7, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland.


Salmonella spp. are Gram-negative bacteria which cause infections ranging from mild, self-limiting enterocolitis to systemic (typhoid) disease. Recent work has established that the genetic makeup varies considerably between different Salmonella strains. Phages play an important role in this diversity. In fact, Salmonella has emerged as a prime example for the involvement of virulence factor encoding phages in the emergence of new epidemic strains. Among other virulence factors, Salmonella enterica utilizes two specialized protein secretion systems termed type III secretion systems (TTSS) to deliver effector proteins into host cells which manipulate host cell signaling cascades. These two TTSS and several effectors are encoded within Salmonella pathogenicity islands 1 and 2. Some effectors including SopE, SspH1, SseI and SopE2 are encoded by phages or phage remnants. These phage-encoded effectors seem to be transferred between different Salmonella strains. They have attracted much interest because they might contribute to the evolution of Salmonella spp. Here we will focus on SopEPhi which encodes the SPI-1 effector SopE. It provides an excellent example to illustrate how horizontally transferred effector proteins are integrated into the complex regulatory network of a TTSS in a recipient bacterium. Additional data supporting the hypothesis are presented. This is a prerequisite to allow optimization of the bacterium host cell interaction by reassortment of the phage-encoded effector protein repertoire.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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