One species, different diseases: the unique molecular mechanisms that underlie the pathogenesis of typhoidal Salmonella infections


Benjamin X Wang, Daniel Sc Butler, Meagan Hamblin, Denise M Monack


Salmonella enterica is one of the most widespread bacterial pathogens found worldwide, resulting in approximately 100 million infections and over 200 000 deaths per year. Salmonella isolates, termed ‘serovars’, can largely be classified as either nontyphoidal or typhoidal Salmonella, which differ in regard to disease manifestation and host tropism. Nontyphoidal Salmonella causes gastroenteritis in many hosts, while typhoidal Salmonella is human-restricted and causes typhoid fever, a systemic disease with a mortality rate of up to 30% without treatment. There has been considerable interest in understanding how different Salmonella serovars cause different diseases, but the molecular details that underlie these infections have not yet been fully characterized, especially in the case of typhoidal Salmonella. In this review, we highlight the current state of research into understanding the pathogenesis of both nontyphoidal and typhoidal Salmonella, with a specific interest in serovar-specific traits that allow human-adapted strains of Salmonella to cause enteric fever. Overall, a more detailed molecular understanding of how different Salmonella isolates infect humans will provide critical insights into how we can eradicate these dangerous enteric pathogens.

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