Diverse distribution of Toxin-Antitoxin II systems in Salmonella enterica serovars

Sci Rep. 2016 Jun 30:6:28759. doi: 10.1038/srep28759.


Type II Toxin-Antitoxin systems (TAs), known for their presence in virulent and antibiotic resistant bacterial strains, were recently identified in Salmonella enterica isolates. However, the relationships between the presence of TAs (ccdAB and vapBC) and the epidemiological and genetic features of different non-typhoidal Salmonella serovars are largely unknown, reducing our understanding of the ecological success of different serovars. Salmonella enterica isolates from different sources, belonging to different serovars and epidemiologically unrelated according to ERIC profiles, were investigated for the presence of type II TAs, plasmid content, and antibiotic resistance. The results showed the ubiquitous presence of the vapBC gene in all the investigated Salmonella isolates, but a diverse distribution of ccdAB, which was detected in the most widespread Salmonella serovars, only. Analysis of the plasmid toxin ccdB translated sequence of four selected Salmonella isolates showed the presence of the amino acid substitution R99W, known to impede in vitro the lethal effect of CcdB toxin in the absence of its cognate antitoxin CcdA. These findings suggest a direct role of the TAs in promoting adaptability and persistence of the most prevalent Salmonella serovars, thus implying a wider eco-physiological role for these type II TAs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Plasmids
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Salmonella enterica / drug effects
  • Salmonella enterica / genetics*
  • Salmonella enterica / isolation & purification*
  • Salmonella enterica / pathogenicity
  • Serogroup
  • Toxin-Antitoxin Systems / genetics
  • Toxin-Antitoxin Systems / physiology*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • CcdA protein, Bacteria
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • VapB protein, Bacteria