Ecological niche adaptation of a bacterial pathogen associated with reduced zoonotic potential

Mark Kirkwood, Prerna Vohra, Matt Bawn, Gaëtan Thilliez, Hannah Pye, Jennifer Tanner, Cosmin Chintoan-Uta, Priscilla Branchu, Liljana Petrovska, Timothy Dallman, Neil Hall, Mark Stevens, Robert A Kingsley

Research output: Working paper

Abstract / Description of output

The emergence of new bacterial pathogens is a continuing challenge for agriculture and food safety. Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium) is a major cause of foodborne illness worldwide, with pigs a major zoonotic reservoir. Two variants, S. Typhimurium phage type U288 and monophasic S. Typhimurium (S. 4,[5],12:i:-) ST34 emerged and have accounted for the majority of isolates from pigs in the UK in the past two decades, but have distinct host range and risk to food safety. ST34 accounts for over 50% of all S. Typhimurium infections in people while U288 less than 2%. U288 and ST34 form distinct phylogenetic clusters within S. Typhimurium, defined by approximately 600 SNPs within their 5 Mbp genomes. Evolution of the U288 clade from an LT2-like ancestor was characterised by the acquisition of AMR genes, insertions and deletions in the virulence plasmid pU288-1, and the accumulation of polymorphisms, some of which resulted in truncation of coding sequences. U288 isolates exhibited lower growth rate and viability following desiccation compared to ST34 isolates, characteristics that could affect transmission through the food chain. U288 and ST34 isolates exhibited distinct outcomes of infection in the murine model of colitis, and colonised pigs in a manner that affected the disease symptoms and distribution in organs. U288 infection was more disseminated in the lymph nodes while ST34 were recovered in greater numbers in the intestinal contents. These data are consistent with the evolution of S. Typhimurium U288 adaptation to pigs that may determine their reduced zoonotic potential.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherbioRxiv, at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sept 2020


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