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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2015 Dec;81(23):8192-201. doi: 10.1128/AEM.02622-15. Epub 2015 Sep 18.

Poultry body temperature contributes to invasion control through reduced expression of Salmonella pathogenicity island 1 genes in Salmonella enterica serovars Typhimurium and Enteritidis.

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Prestage Department of Poultry Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
Prestage Department of Poultry Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.
Department of Animal Science, University of Sao Paulo, Piracicaba, SP, Brazil.


Salmonella enterica serovars Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium) and Enteritidis (S. Enteritidis) are foodborne pathogens, and outbreaks are often associated with poultry products. Chickens are typically asymptomatic when colonized by these serovars; however, the factors contributing to this observation are uncharacterized. Whereas symptomatic mammals have a body temperature between 37°C and 39°C, chickens have a body temperature of 41°C to 42°C. Here, in vivo experiments using chicks demonstrated that numbers of viable S. Typhimurium or S. Enteritidis bacteria within the liver and spleen organ sites were ≥4 orders of magnitude lower than those within the ceca. When similar doses of S. Typhimurium or S. Enteritidis were given to C3H/HeN mice, the ratio of the intestinal concentration to the liver/spleen concentration was 1:1. In the avian host, this suggested poor survival within these tissues or a reduced capacity to traverse the host epithelial layer and reach liver/spleen sites or both. Salmonella pathogenicity island 1 (SPI-1) promotes localization to liver/spleen tissues through invasion of the epithelial cell layer. Following in vitro growth at 42°C, SPI-1 genes sipC, invF, and hilA and the SPI-1 rtsA activator were downregulated compared to expression at 37°C. Overexpression of the hilA activators fur, fliZ, and hilD was capable of inducing hilA-lacZ at 37°C but not at 42°C despite the presence of similar levels of protein at the two temperatures. In contrast, overexpression of either hilC or rtsA was capable of inducing hilA and sipC at 42°C. These data indicate that physiological parameters of the poultry host, such as body temperature, have a role in modulating expression of virulence.

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