Diversification of the Salmonella Fimbriae: A model of macro- and microevolution

Min Yue, Shelley C. Rankin, Ryan T. Blanchet, James D. Nulton, Robert A. Edwards, Dieter M. Schifferli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Bacteria of the genus Salmonella comprise a large and evolutionary related population of zoonotic pathogens that can infect mammals, including humans and domestic animals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. Salmonella carries a plethora of virulence genes, including fimbrial adhesins, some of them known to participate in mammalian or avian host colonization. Each type of fimbria has its structural subunit and biogenesis genes encoded by one fimbrial gene cluster (FGC). The accumulation of new genomic information offered a timely opportunity to better evaluate the number and types of FGCs in the Salmonella pangenome, to test the use of current classifications based on phylogeny, and to infer potential correlations between FGC evolution in various Salmonella serovars and host niches. This study focused on the FGCs of the currently deciphered 90 genomes and 60 plasmids of Salmonella. The analysis highlighted a fimbriome consisting of 35 different FGCs, of which 16 were new, each strain carrying between 5 and 14 FGCs. The Salmonella fimbriome was extremely diverse with FGC representatives in 8 out of 9 previously categorized fimbrial clades and subclades. Phylogenetic analysis of Salmonella suggested macroevolutionary shifts detectable by extensive FGC deletion and acquisition. In addition, microevolutionary drifts were best depicted by the high level of allelic variation in predicted or known adhesins, such as the type 1 fimbrial adhesin FimH for which 67 different natural alleles were identified in S. enterica subsp. I. Together with strain-specific collections of FGCs, allelic variation among adhesins attested to the pathoadaptive evolution of Salmonella towards specific hosts and tissues, potentially modulating host range, strain virulence, disease progression, and transmission efficiency. Further understanding of how each Salmonella strain utilizes its panel of FGCs and specific adhesin alleles for survival and infection will support the development of new approaches for the control of Salmonellosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere38596
JournalPLoS One
Volume7
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

© 2012 Yue et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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