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Cell Microbiol. 2008 Jun;10(6):1259-73. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-5822.2008.01124.x. Epub 2008 Jan 21.

Resistance to antimicrobial peptides contributes to persistence of Salmonella typhimurium in the C. elegans intestine.

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1
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.

Abstract

The human pathogen Salmonella typhimurium can colonize, proliferate and persist in the intestine causing enteritis in mammals and mortality in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Using C. elegans as a model, we determined that the Salmonella pathogenicity islands-1 and -2 (SPI-1 and SPI-2), PhoP and the virulence plasmid are required for the establishment of a persistent infection. We observed that the PhoP regulon, SPI-1, SPI-2 and spvR are induced in C. elegans and isogenic strains lacking these virulence factors exhibited significant defects in the ability to persist in the worm intestine. Salmonella infection also leads to induction of two C. elegans antimicrobial genes, abf-2 and spp-1, which act to limit bacterial proliferation. The SPI-2, phoP and Delta pSLT mutants are more sensitive to the cationic peptide polymyxin B, suggesting that resistance to worm's antimicrobial peptides might be necessary for Salmonella to persist in the C. elegans intestine. Importantly, we showed that the persistence defects of the SPI-2, phoP and Delta pSLT mutants could be rescued in vivo when expression of C. elegans spp-1 was reduced by RNAi. Together, our data suggest that resistance to host antimicrobials in the intestinal lumen is a key mechanism for Salmonella persistence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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