The variant rpoS allele of S. enteritidis strain 27655R does not affect virulence in a chick model nor constitutive curliation but does generate a cold-sensitive phenotype

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1998 Oct 15;167(2):245-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.1998.tb13235.x.


Adherence of pathogenic Escherichia coli and Salmonella spp. to host cells is in part mediated by curli fimbriae which, along with other virulence determinants, are positively regulated by RpoS. Interested in the role and regulation of curli (SEF17) fimbriae of Salmonella enteritidis in poultry infection, we tested the virulence of naturally occurring S. enteritidis PT4 strains 27655R and 27655S which displayed constitutive and null expression of curli (SEF17) fimbriae, respectively, in a chick invasion assay and analysed their rpoS alleles. Both strains were shown to be equally invasive and as invasive as a wild-type phage type 4 strain and an isogenic derivative defective for the elaboration of curli. We showed that the rpoS allele of 27655S was intact even though this strain was non-curliated and we confirmed that a S. enteritidis rpoS::strr null mutant was unable to express curli, as anticipated. Strain 27655R, constitutively curliated, possessed a frameshift mutation at position 697 of the rpoS coding sequence which resulted in a truncated product and remained curliated even when transduced to rpoS::strr. Additionally, rpoS mutants are known to be cold-sensitive, a phenotype confirmed for strain 27655R. Collectively, these data indicated that curliation was not a significant factor for pathogenesis of S. enteritidis in this model and that curliation of strains 27655R and 27655S was independent of RpoS. Significantly, strain 27655R possessed a defective rpoS allele and remained virulent. Here was evidence that supported the concept that different naturally occurring rpoS alleles may generate varying virulence phenotypic traits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Chickens*
  • Cold Temperature
  • Fimbriae, Bacterial / genetics
  • Fimbriae, Bacterial / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Phenotype
  • Poultry Diseases / microbiology*
  • Salmonella Infections, Animal / microbiology*
  • Salmonella enteritidis / genetics*
  • Salmonella enteritidis / growth & development
  • Salmonella enteritidis / pathogenicity*
  • Salmonella enteritidis / ultrastructure
  • Sigma Factor / genetics*
  • Virulence


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Sigma Factor
  • sigma factor KatF protein, Bacteria