Single cell analyses reveal distinct adaptation of typhoidal and non-typhoidal Salmonella enterica serovars to intracellular lifestyle


Tatjana ReuterFelix ScharteRico FranzkochViktoria LissMichael Hensel


Salmonella enterica is a common foodborne, facultative intracellular enteropathogen. Human-restricted typhoidal S. enterica serovars Typhi (STY) or Paratyphi A (SPA) cause severe typhoid or paratyphoid fever, while many S. enterica serovar Typhimurium (STM) strains have a broad host range and in human hosts usually lead to a self-limiting gastroenteritis. Due to restriction of STY and SPA to primate hosts, experimental systems for studying the pathogenesis of typhoid and paratyphoid fever are limited. Therefore, STM infection of susceptible mice is commonly considered as model system for studying these diseases. The type III secretion system encoded by Salmonella pathogenicity island 2 (SPI2-T3SS) is a key factor for intracellular survival of Salmonella. Inside host cells, the pathogen resides within the Salmonella-containing vacuole (SCV) and induces tubular structures extending from the SCV, termed Salmonella-induced filaments (SIF). This study applies single cell analyses approaches, which are flow cytometry of Salmonella harboring dual fluorescent protein reporters, effector translocation, and correlative light and electron microscopy to investigate the fate and activities of intracellular STY and SPA. The SPI2-T3SS of STY and SPA is functional in translocation of effector proteins, SCV and SIF formation. However, only a low proportion of intracellular STY and SPA are actively deploying SPI2-T3SS and STY and SPA exhibited a rapid decline of protein biosynthesis upon experimental induction. A role of SPI2-T3SS for proliferation of STY and SPA in epithelial cells was observed, but not for survival or proliferation in phagocytic host cells. Our results indicate that reduced intracellular activities are factors of the stealth strategy of STY and SPA and facilitate systemic spread and persistence of the typhoidal Salmonella.

Click here to read the article, published in PLoS Pathogens.