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Open Microbiol J. 2012;6:53-64. doi: 10.2174/1874285801206010053. Epub 2012 Jul 27.

Low-Shear Modeled Microgravity Enhances Salmonella Enterica Resistance to Hydrogen Peroxide Through a Mechanism Involving KatG and KatN.

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Dipartimento di Biologia, Università di Roma Tor Vergata, 00133 Rome.


Studies carried out in recent years have established that growth under conditions of reduced gravity enhances Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium virulence. To analyze the possibility that this microgravity-induced increase in pathogenicity could involve alterations in the ability of Salmonella to withstand oxidative stress, we have compared the resistance to hydrogen peroxide of various Salmonella enterica strains grown under conditions of low shear modeled microgravity (LSMMG) or normal gravity (NG). We have found that growth in LSMMG significantly enhances hydrogen peroxide resistance of all the strains analyzed. This effect is abolished by deletion of the genes encoding for the catalases KatG and KatN, whose activity is markedly modulated by growth in LSMMG. In addition, we have observed that Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium strains lacking Hfq, RpoE, RpoS or OxyR are still more resistant to oxidative stress when grown in LSMMG than in NG conditions, indicating that these global gene regulators are not responsible for the microgravity-induced changes in KatG and KatN activity. As Salmonella likely encounters low shear conditions in the intestinal tract, our observations suggest that alterations in the relative activity of KatG and KatN could enhance Salmonella resistance to the reactive oxygen species produced also during natural infections.


Bacterial virulence; Catalase; Hydrogen peroxide resistance; Microgravity; Salmonella; HARV Bioreactor.

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