Pangenome Analysis of a Salmonella Enteritidis Population Links a Major Outbreak to a Gifsy-1-Like Prophage Containing Anti-Inflammatory Gene gogB

Microbiol Spectr. 2023 Mar 14;11(2):e0279122. doi: 10.1128/spectrum.02791-22. Online ahead of print.


A major outbreak of the globally significant Salmonella Enteritidis foodborne pathogen was identified within a large clinical data set by a program of routine WGS of clinical presentations of salmonellosis in New South Wales, Australia. Pangenome analysis helped to quantify and isolate prophage content within the accessory partition of the pangenome. A prophage similar to Gifsy-1 (henceforth GF-1L) was found to occur in all isolates of the outbreak core SNP cluster, and in three other isolates. Further analysis revealed that the GF-1L prophage carried the gogB virulence factor. These observations suggest that GF-1L may be an important marker of virulence for S. Enteritidis population screening and, that anti-inflammatory, gogB-mediated virulence currently associated with Salmonella Typhimurium may also be displayed by S. Enteritidis. IMPORTANCE We examined 5 years of genomic and epidemiological data for the significant global foodborne pathogen, Salmonella enterica. Although Salmonella enterica subspecies enterica serovar Enteritidis (S. Enteritidis) is the leading cause of salmonellosis in the USA and Europe, prior to 2018 it was not endemic in the southern states of Australia. However, in 2018 a large outbreak led to the endemicity of S. Enteritidis in New South Wales, Australia, and a unique opportunity to study this phenomenon. Using pangenome analysis we uncovered that this clone contained a Gifsy-1-like prophage harboring the known virulence factor gogB. The prophage reported has not previously been described in S. Enteritidis isolates.

Keywords: Salmonella Enteritidis; accessory genome; foodborne pathogen; gogB; pangenome; prophage; virulence factor; whole-genome sequencing.