Variable assortment of prophages provides a transferable repertoire of pathogenic determinants in Salmonella

Mol Microbiol. 2001 Jan;39(2):260-71. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2958.2001.02234.x.


Gene transfer between separate lineages of a bacterial pathogen can promote recombinational divergence and the emergence of new pathogenic variants. Temperate bacteriophages, by virtue of their ability to carry foreign DNA, are potential key players in this process. Our previous work has shown that representative strains of Salmonella typhimurium (LT2, ATCC14028 and SL1344) are lysogenic for two temperate bacteriophages: Gifsy-1 and Gifsy-2. Several lines of evidence suggested that both elements carry genes that contribute to Salmonella virulence. One such gene, on the Gifsy-2 prophage, codes for the [Cu, Zn] superoxide dismutase SodCI. Other putative pathogenicity determinants were uncovered more recently. These include genes for known or presumptive type III-translocated proteins and a locus, duplicated on both prophages, showing sequence similarity to a gene involved in Salmonella enteropathogenesis (pipA). In addition to Gifsy-1 and Gifsy-2, each of the above strains was found to harbour a specific set of prophages also carrying putative pathogenicity determinants. A phage released from strain LT2 and identified as phage Fels-1 carries the nanH gene and a novel sodC gene, which was named sodCIII. Strain ATCC14028 releases a lambdoid phage, named Gifsy-3, which contains the phoP/phoQ-activated pagJ gene and the gene for the secreted leucine-rich repeat protein SspH1. Finally, a phage specifically released from strain SL1344 was identified as SopEPhi. Most phage-associated loci transferred efficiently between Salmonella strains of the same or different serovars. Overall, these results suggest that lysogenic conversion is a major mechanism driving the evolution of Salmonella bacteria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Pulsed-Field
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Deletion
  • Lysogeny
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Salmonella Infections / virology
  • Salmonella Phages / genetics*
  • Salmonella Phages / physiology
  • Salmonella typhimurium / pathogenicity*
  • Salmonella typhimurium / virology*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Siphoviridae / genetics
  • Transduction, Genetic
  • Transformation, Bacterial
  • Virulence / genetics


  • Bacterial Proteins

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF147699
  • GENBANK/AF254761
  • GENBANK/AF254763