Invasiveness in Chickens, Stress Resistance and RpoS Status of Wild-Type Salmonella Enterica Subsp. Enterica Serovar Typhimurium Definitive Type 104 and Serovar Enteritidis Phage Type 4 Strains

Microbiology. 2000 Dec;146 Pt 12:3227-3235. doi: 10.1099/00221287-146-12-3227.


The heat and acid resistance and the ability to survive airdrying on commonly used kitchen surfaces were assessed for clinical and environmental strains of Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Typhimurium, definitive type (DT) 104. Three out of thirty-eight strains of DT 104 were found to be more sensitive in stationary phase to the stresses examined than the other strains. This compares to a previous study by the authors which showed that seven out of forty serovar Enteritidis phage type (PT) 4 strains were more sensitive. RpoS activity was examined indirectly in selected strains of DT 104 and PT 4. In those with normal stress resistance a 100-fold induction of an RpoS-dependent spvR/A:'::luxCDABE fusion was observed upon entry into stationary phase. The sensitive strains examined showed either no induction or a reduced level of spvR/A:'::luxCDABE expression. The rpoS gene was sequenced from these strains and three were found to harbour mutations including one deletion, one base-pair substitution resulting in a nonsense codon, and one insertion causing a frameshift resulting in an early stop codon. Strains with negligible or reduced spvR/A:'::luxCDABE expression had low stress resistance. All strains of DT 104 could be recovered from liver and spleen tissues of infected hens 14 d post-infection, but one with no induction of spvR/A:'::luxCDABE expression was significantly less likely to be recovered from chicken reproductive tissues, liver or spleen than the majority of other strains, including one with reduced spvR/A:'::luxCDABE expression. This work has demonstrated that clinical and environmental strains of DT 104 and PT 4 not infrequently harbour mutations in the rpoS allele. It is possible that the rpoS mutations may have occurred during the initial isolation of the strains. The ability of a strain to cause infection, however, also depends on factors such as host susceptibility and dose.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Chickens / microbiology*
  • Desiccation
  • Female
  • Hot Temperature
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Liver / microbiology
  • Luminescent Measurements
  • Ovary / microbiology
  • Poultry Diseases / microbiology
  • Salmonella Infections, Animal / microbiology
  • Salmonella Infections, Animal / physiopathology
  • Salmonella enteritidis / classification
  • Salmonella enteritidis / pathogenicity*
  • Salmonella enteritidis / physiology*
  • Salmonella typhimurium / pathogenicity*
  • Salmonella typhimurium / physiology*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Sigma Factor / genetics
  • Sigma Factor / metabolism*
  • Spleen / microbiology
  • Virulence


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Sigma Factor
  • sigma factor KatF protein, Bacteria