Salmonella is an important food-borne pathogen causing disease in humans and animals worldwide. Salmonellosis may be caused by any one of over 2,500 serovars of Salmonella. Nonetheless, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium and Salmonella enterica serovar Agona are the second most prevalent serovars isolated from humans and livestock products respectively. Limited knowledge is available about the virulence mechanisms responsible for diarrheal disease caused by them. To investigate the contribution of sopB, sopD and pipD as virulence factors in intracellular infections and the uniqueness of these bacteria becoming far more prevalent than other serovars, the infection model of Caenorhabditis elegans and phenotypic microarray were used to characterize their mutants. The strains containing the mutation in sopB, sopD and pipD genes were constructed by using latest site-specific group II intron mutagenesis approach to reveal the pathogenicity of the virulence factors. Overall, we observed that the mutations in sopB, sopD and pipD genes of both serovars did not exhibit significant decrease in virulence towards the nematode. This may indicate that these virulence effectors may not be universal virulence factors involved in conserved innate immunity. There are significant phenotypic differences amongst strains carrying sopB, sopD and pipD gene mutations via the analysis of biochemical profiles of the bacteria. Interestingly, mutant strains displayed different susceptibility to chemical stressors from several distinct pharmacological and structural classes when compared to its isogenic parental strains. These metabolic and chemosensitivity assays also revealed multiple roles of Salmonella virulence factors in nutrient metabolism and antibiotic resistance.
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