Background: Salmonella enterica serovar Infantis (S. Infantis) is one of the ubiquitous serovars of the bacterial pathogen S. enterica and recently has been emerging in many countries worldwide. Nonetheless, not much is known about its epidemiology, host adaptation, and virulence. Methods: Epidemiological and molecular approaches were used together with tissue-culture and mouse models to conduct phenotypic comparison with the model S. enterica serovar Typhimurium. Results: We show that S. Infantis is more frequently associated with infections in infants <2 years old and prone to cause significantly less invasive infections than serovar Typhimurium. Moreover, although S. Infantis adheres better to host cells and highly colonizes mouse intestines soon after infection, it is significantly less invasive and induces much lower inflammation and disease in vivo than S. Typhimurium. These differences were associated with lower expression of Salmonella pathogenicity island (SPI) 1 genes in S. Infantis than in S. Typhimurium. Conclusions: Our results demonstrate previously unknown differences in the epidemiology, virulence pathway expression, and pathogenicity between two highly abundant Salmonella serovars and suggest that native variation in the expression of the SPI-1 regulon is likely to contribute to epidemiological and virulence variation between genetically similar nontyphoidal Salmonella serovars.
- Salmonella enterica
- Salmonella-pathogenicity islands
- host-pathogen interactions