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Mechanism uncovered behind Salmonella virulence and drug susceptibility
Date:7/29/2010

Researchers have discovered a novel mechanism in Salmonella that affects its virulence and its susceptibility to antibiotics by changing its production of proteins in a previously unheard of manner. This allows Salmonella to selectively change its levels of certain proteins to respond to inhospitable conditions.

Although the mechanism had not been recognized before, the scientists were intrigued to find evidence of a similar mechanism in all five kingdoms of life animals, plants, fungi, protista, and monera.

The findings were published today, July 29, in Molecular Cell. The senior author of the study is Dr. Ferric C. Fang, professor of microbiology, laboratory medicine, and medicine at the University of Washington (UW). Fang also directs the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. The lead author is William Wiley Navarre, who began the study as a postdoctoral fellow in the Fang lab and is now an assistant professor at the University of Toronto.

Salmonella enters the gut when people eat contaminated food, and can sometimes spread to other parts of the body. Illness outbreaks and grocery recalls related to Salmonella are often in the news. Babies, young children, the elderly, and people with cancer or HIV are especially prone to severe illness from Salmonella.

Salmonella is adaptable and can withstand many of the body's attempts to fight it. The bacteria live and multiply in a special compartment inside the cells of an infected person or animal. Salmonella can alter its physiology as it moves from a free-swimming life to its residence in a host cell. Salmonella's metabolism also changes over time to make use of the nutrients available in the host cell, and to survive damage from the build-up of oxidants and nitric oxide in the infected cell.

While screening mutant Salmonella that were resistant to a form of n
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Contact: Leila Gray
leilag@u.washington.edu
206-685-0381
University of Washington
Source:Eurekalert  

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