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Vet Res. 2014 Jan 9;45:2. doi: 10.1186/1297-9716-45-2.

Only one of the two type VI secretion systems encoded in the Salmonella enterica serotype Dublin genome is involved in colonization of the avian and murine hosts.

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Departamento de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular, Facultad de Ciencias Químicas y Farmacéuticas, Universidad de Chile, Santos Dumont 964, Santiago, Chile.


The type VI secretion system (T6SS) is a virulence factor for many Gram-negative bacteria. Salmonella genus harbors five phylogenetically distinct T6SS loci encoded in Salmonella Pathogenicity Islands (SPIs) SPI-6, SPI-19, SPI-20, SPI-21 and SPI-22, which are differentially distributed among serotypes. The T6SSs encoded in SPI-6 and SPI-19 contribute to pathogenesis of serotypes Typhimurium and Gallinarum in mice and chickens, respectively. Salmonella Dublin is a pathogen restricted to cattle where it causes a systemic disease. Also, it can colonize other hosts such as chickens and mice, which can act as reservoirs of this serotype. Salmonella Dublin harbors the genes for both T6SS(SPI-6) and T6SS(SPI-19). This study has determined the contribution of T6SS(SPI-6) and T6SS(SPI-19) to host-colonization by Salmonella Dublin using avian and murine models of infection. Competitive index experiments showed that, a mutant strain lacking both T6SSs (∆T6SS(SPI-6)/∆T6SS(SPI-19)) presents a strong colonization defect in cecum of chickens, similar to the defect observed for the ∆T6SS(SPI-6) mutant, suggesting that this serotype requires a functional T6SS(SPI-6) for efficient colonization of the avian gastrointestinal tract. Colonization of mice was also defective, although to a lesser extent than in chickens. In contrast, the T6SS(SPI-19) was not necessary for colonization of either chickens or mice. Transfer of T6SS(SPI-6), but not T6SS(SPI-19), restored the ability of the double mutant to colonize both animal hosts. Our data indicate that Salmonella Dublin requires only the T6SS(SPI-6) for efficient colonization of mice and chickens, and that the T6SS(SPI-6) and T6SS(SPI-19) are not functionally redundant.

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