Salmonella enterica serotype Gallinarum is the causative agent of fowl typhoid, a disease characterized by high morbidity and mortality that causes major economic losses in poultry production. We have reported that S. Gallinarum harbors a type VI secretion system (T6SS) encoded in Salmonella pathogenicity island 19 (SPI-19) that is required for efficient colonization of chicks. In the present study, we aimed to characterize the SPI-19 T6SS functionality and to investigate the mechanisms behind the phenotypes previously observed in vivo. Expression analyses revealed that SPI-19 T6SS core components are expressed and produced under in vitro bacterial growth conditions. However, secretion of the structural/secreted components Hcp1, Hcp2, and VgrG to the culture medium could not be determined, suggesting that additional signals are required for T6SS-dependent secretion of these proteins. In vitro bacterial competition assays failed to demonstrate a role for SPI-19 T6SS in interbacterial killing. In contrast, cell culture experiments with murine and avian macrophages (RAW264.7 and HD11, respectively) revealed production of a green fluorescent protein-tagged version of VgrG soon after Salmonella uptake. Furthermore, infection of RAW264.7 and HD11 macrophages with deletion mutants of SPI-19 or strains with genes encoding specific T6SS core components (clpV and vgrG) revealed that SPI-19 T6SS contributes to S. Gallinarum survival within macrophages at 20 h postuptake. SPI-19 T6SS function was not linked to Salmonella-induced cytotoxicity or cell death of infected macrophages, as has been described for other T6SS. Our data indicate that SPI-19 T6SS corresponds to a novel tool used by Salmonella to survive within host cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases