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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996 Apr 30;93(9):4197-201.

Macrophage killing is an essential virulence mechanism of Salmonella typhimurium.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland 97201, USA.


Phagocytic cells are a critical line of defense against infection. The ability of a pathogen to survive and even replicate within phagocytic cells is a potent method of evading the defense mechanisms of the host. A number of pathogens survive within macrophages after phagocytosis and this contributes to their virulence. Salmonella is one of these pathogens. Here we report that 6-14 hr after Salmonella enters the macrophage and replicates, it resides in large vacuoles and causes the destruction of these cells. Furthermore, we identified four independently isolated MudJ-lacZ insertion mutants that no longer cause the formation of these vacuoles or kill the macrophages. All four insertions were located in the ompR/envZ regulon. These findings suggest that killing and escape from macrophages may be as important steps in Salmonella pathogenesis as are survival and replication in these host cells.

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