Retrospective application of transposon-directed insertion site sequencing to investigate niche-specific virulence of Salmonella Typhimurium in cattle

Prerna Vohra, Roy R. Chaudhuri, Matthew Mayho, Christina Vrettou, Cosmin Chintoan-Uta, Nicholas R Thomson, Jayne Hope, John Hopkins, Mark P. Stevens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background: Salmonella enterica subspecies enterica is an animal and zoonotic pathogen of global importance. Cattle are a significant reservoir of human non-typhoidal salmonellosis and can suffer enteric and systemic disease owing to the ability of Salmonella to survive within the bovine lymphatic system and intestines. Contamination of food can occur due to the incorporation of contaminated peripheral lymph nodes or by direct contamination of carcasses with gut contents. It is essential to understand the mechanisms used by Salmonella to enter and persist within the bovine lymphatic system and how they differ from those required for intestinal colonization to minimize zoonotic infections.
Results: Transposon-directed insertion site sequencing (TraDIS) was applied to pools of mutants recovered from mesenteric lymph nodes (MLN) draining the distal ileum of calves after oral inoculation with a library of 8550 random S. Typhimurium mini-Tn5Km2 mutants in pools of 475 mutants per calf. A total of 8315 mutants representing 2852 different genes were detected in the MLNs and their in vivo fitness was calculated. Using the same improved algorithm for analysis of transposon-flanking sequences, the identity and phenotype of mutants recovered from the distal ileal mucosa of the same calves was also defined, enabling comparison with previously published data and of mutant phenotypes across the tissues. Phenotypes observed for the majority of mutants were highly significantly correlated in the two tissues. However, 32 genes were identified in which transposon insertions consistently resulted in differential fitness in the MLNs and ileal wall, suggesting niche-specific roles for these genes in pathogenesis. Defined null mutations affecting ptsN and spvC were confirmed to result in tissue-specific phenotypes in calves, thus validating the TraDIS dataset.
Conclusions: This validation of the role of thousands of Salmonella genes and identification of genes with niche-specific roles in a key target species will inform the design of control strategies for bovine salmonellosis and zoonotic infections, for which efficacious and cross-protective vaccines are currently lacking.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Genomics
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2019

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Salmonella
  • TraDIS
  • niche-specific virulence
  • zoonoses


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