Typhoid fever caused by Salmonella enterica serovar (S.) Typhi differs in its clinical presentation from gastroenteritis caused by S. Typhimurium and other non-typhoidal Salmonella serovars. The different clinical presentations are attributed in part to the virulence-associated capsular polysaccharide (Vi antigen) of S. Typhi, which prevents phagocytes from triggering a respiratory burst by preventing antibody-mediated complement activation. Paradoxically, the Vi antigen is absent from S. Paratyphi A, which causes a disease that is indistinguishable from typhoid fever. Here, we show that evasion of the phagocyte respiratory burst by S. Paratyphi A required very long O antigen chains containing the O2 antigen to inhibit antibody binding. We conclude that the ability to avoid the phagocyte respiratory burst is a property distinguishing typhoidal from non-typhoidal Salmonella serovars that was acquired by S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A independently through convergent evolution.
Keywords: capsular polysaccharide; complement; lipopolysaccharide; natural IgM; neutrophil; paratyphoid fever; respiratory burst; typhoid fever.
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