Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium skills to succeed in the host: virulence and regulation

Clin Microbiol Rev. 2013 Apr;26(2):308-41. doi: 10.1128/CMR.00066-12.


Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium is a primary enteric pathogen infecting both humans and animals. Infection begins with the ingestion of contaminated food or water so that salmonellae reach the intestinal epithelium and trigger gastrointestinal disease. In some patients the infection spreads upon invasion of the intestinal epithelium, internalization within phagocytes, and subsequent dissemination. In that case, antimicrobial therapy, based on fluoroquinolones and expanded-spectrum cephalosporins as the current drugs of choice, is indicated. To accomplish the pathogenic process, the Salmonella chromosome comprises several virulence mechanisms. The most important virulence genes are those located within the so-called Salmonella pathogenicity islands (SPIs). Thus far, five SPIs have been reported to have a major contribution to pathogenesis. Nonetheless, further virulence traits, such as the pSLT virulence plasmid, adhesins, flagella, and biofilm-related proteins, also contribute to success within the host. Several regulatory mechanisms which synchronize all these elements in order to guarantee bacterial survival have been described. These mechanisms govern the transitions from the different pathogenic stages and drive the pathogen to achieve maximal efficiency inside the host. This review focuses primarily on the virulence armamentarium of this pathogen and the extremely complicated regulatory network controlling its success.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial*
  • Genomic Islands
  • Humans
  • Plasmids
  • Salmonella Infections / microbiology*
  • Salmonella Infections / pathology
  • Salmonella typhimurium / genetics*
  • Salmonella typhimurium / pathogenicity*
  • Virulence Factors / genetics
  • Virulence Factors / metabolism*


  • Virulence Factors