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Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2017 Sep 29;7:428. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2017.00428. eCollection 2017.

Evolution of Salmonella-Host Cell Interactions through a Dynamic Bacterial Genome.

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Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada.
Michael DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada.


Salmonella Typhimurium has a broad arsenal of genes that are tightly regulated and coordinated to facilitate adaptation to the various host environments it colonizes. The genome of Salmonella Typhimurium has undergone multiple gene acquisition events and has accrued changes in non-coding DNA that have undergone selection by regulatory evolution. Together, at least 17 horizontally acquired pathogenicity islands (SPIs), prophage-associated genes, and changes in core genome regulation contribute to the virulence program of Salmonella. Here, we review the latest understanding of these elements and their contributions to pathogenesis, emphasizing the regulatory circuitry that controls niche-specific gene expression. In addition to an overview of the importance of SPI-1 and SPI-2 to host invasion and colonization, we describe the recently characterized contributions of other SPIs, including the antibacterial activity of SPI-6 and adhesion and invasion mediated by SPI-4. We further discuss how these fitness traits have been integrated into the regulatory circuitry of the bacterial cell through cis-regulatory evolution and by a careful balance of silencing and counter-silencing by regulatory proteins. Detailed understanding of regulatory evolution within Salmonella is uncovering novel aspects of infection biology that relate to host-pathogen interactions and evasion of host immunity.


Salmonella infection biology; bacterial pathogenesis; comparative genomics; gene loss; horizontal gene transfer; regulatory evolution; virulence regulation; xenogeneic silencing

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