How Salmonella survive against the odds

Annu Rev Microbiol. 1995;49:145-74. doi: 10.1146/annurev.mi.49.100195.001045.


The enteric pathogen Salmonella typhimurium faces daunting odds during its voyages in the natural environment and through an infected host. It must manage stresses ranging from feast to famine, acid to base, and high to low osmolarity, among others, as well as counter various types of oxidative stress and a variety of antimicrobial peptides. The defenses used to survive these encounters can be specific or can provide cross protection to a variety of hostile conditions. Once inside a host, Salmonella spp. escape the extracellular environment and thus humoral immunity by invading professional and nonprofessional phagocytes in which a new set of challenges await. Some of these stresses are similar to those encountered in the natural environment (e.g. acid, starvation) but the bacterial response is complicated by the simultaneous occurrence of multiple stresses. S. typhimurium appears to sense various in vivo cues and responds by seducing the host signal-transduction pathways that are required to phagocytize the bacterial cell. The pathogen then calls upon components of its stress-response arsenal to survive the intracellular environment. These survival strategies enable the organism to persist in nature, where conditions are usually suboptimal, and equip the bacterium with pathogenic properties that, if successful, will provide it with a very rich and stress-free growth environment, a dead host.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Animals
  • Environmental Microbiology
  • Heat-Shock Response
  • Intestines / microbiology
  • Mice
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Salmonella typhimurium / pathogenicity*
  • Salmonella typhimurium / physiology*