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Microbiology. 2018 Oct 16. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.000731. [Epub ahead of print]

Phosphate and carbohydrate facilitate the formation of filamentous Salmonella enterica during osmotic stress.

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1​Department of Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Madison, WI, USA.
2​Department of Biology, Edgewood College, Madison, WI, USA.
3​Food Research Institute, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Madison, WI, USA.


Salmonella enterica is a human pathogen that can produce filamentous cells in response to environmental stress. The molecular mediators and biosynthetic pathways that contribute to the formation of filamentous cells (>10 µm in length) during osmotic stress are mostly unknown. The comparison of filamentous and non-filamentous cells in this study was aided by the use of a filtration step to separate cell types. Osmotic stress caused an efflux of phosphate from cells, and the addition of phosphate and a carbohydrate to Luria broth with 7 % NaCl (LB-7NaCl) significantly increased the proportion of filamentous cells in the population (58 %). In addition to direct measurements of intracellular and extracellular phosphate concentrations, the relative abundance of the iraP transcript that is induced by phosphate limitation was monitored. Non-filamentous cells had a greater relative abundance of iraP transcript than filamentous cells. IraP also affects the stability of RpoS, which regulates the general stress regulon, and was detected in non-filamentous cells but not filamentous cells. Markers of metabolic pathways for the production of acetyl-CoA (pflB, encoding for pyruvate formate lyase) and fatty acids (fabH) that are essential to membrane biosynthesis were found in greater abundance in filamentous cells than non-filamentous cells. There were no differences in the DNA, protein and biomass levels in filamentous and non-filamentous cells after 48 h of incubation, although the filamentous cells produced significantly (P<0.05) more acetate. This study found that phosphate and carbohydrate enhanced the formation of filamentous cells during osmotic stress, and there were differences in key regulatory elements and markers of metabolic pathways in filamentous and non-filamentous S. enterica.


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