Expression of hilA in response to mild acid stress in Salmonella enterica is Serovar and strain dependent
Posted: May 24th, 2012 - 2:11pm
Source: Journal of Food Science, Volume 77, Issue 5, pages M292–M297, May 2012
Abstract: Salmonella enterica is the leading cause of foodborne illness with poultry and poultry products being primary sources of infection. The 2 most common S. enterica serovars associated with human infection are Typhimurium and Enteritidis. However, Kentucky and Heidelburg and the 2 most prevalent serovars isolated from poultry environments. Given the prevalence of other serovars in poultry products and environments, research is needed to understand virulence modulation in response to stress in serovars other than Typhimurium and Enteritidis. Thus, the objective of this research was to compare hilA gene expression (a master regulator of the virulence pathogenicity island) in response to acid stress among different strains and serovars of Salmonella. A total of 11 serovars consisting of 15 strains of S. enterica were utilized for these experiments. Cultures were suspended in tryptic soy broth (TSB) adjusted to pH 7.2, 6.2, or 5.5 with HCl or acetic acid. Total RNA was extracted from cultures at specific time points (0, 2, 4, and 24 h). Gene expression of hilA was measured with quantitative reverse transcriptase real time PCR (qRT-PCR). Growth and pH were measured throughout the 24 h time frame. Regulation of hilA in response to acid stress varied by serovar and strain and type of acid. The results of these experiments indicate that hilA regulation may have some impact on virulence and colonization of S. enterica. However, these results warrant further research to more fully understand the significance of hilA regulation in response to mild acid stress in S. enterica.
Practical Applications: In the industry, some treatments or marinades used for poultry meat utilize a low pH that may also kill bacteria. However, if bacteria survive these treatments, they can endure further stress because genes to survive stresses are activated and may remain activated. In this research, we show that a virulence gene (hilA) is regulated in response to acid stress in Salmonella. If upregulation is sustained, this may have an effect on the virulence of Salmonella of the bacteria. Thus, we show that some acid based treatments could have an effect on the potential virulence of S. enterica.