Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. Typhi) causes typhoid fever, a life-threatening human disease. The lack of animal models due to S. Typhi's strict human host specificity has hindered its study and vaccine development. We find that immunodeficient Rag2(-/-) γc(-/-) mice engrafted with human fetal liver hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells are able to support S. Typhi replication and persistent infection. A S. Typhi mutant in a gene required for virulence in humans was unable to replicate in these mice. Another mutant unable to produce typhoid toxin exhibited increased replication, suggesting a role for this toxin in the establishment of persistent infection. Furthermore, infected animals mounted human innate and adaptive immune responses to S. Typhi, resulting in the production of cytokines and pathogen-specific antibodies. We expect that this mouse model will be a useful resource for understanding S. Typhi pathogenesis and for evaluating potential vaccine candidates against typhoid fever.
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