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PloS one

Active suppression of early immune response in tobacco by the human pathogen Salmonella Typhimurium.


PMID 21541320

Abstract

The persistence of enteric pathogens on plants has been studied extensively, mainly due to the potential hazard of human pathogens such as Salmonella enterica being able to invade and survive in/on plants. Factors involved in the interactions between enteric bacteria and plants have been identified and consequently it was hypothesized that plants may be vectors or alternative hosts for enteric pathogens. To survive, endophytic bacteria have to escape the plant immune systems, which function at different levels through the plant-bacteria interactions. To understand how S. enterica survives endophyticaly we conducted a detailed analysis on its ability to elicit or evade the plant immune response. The models of this study were Nicotiana tabacum plants and cells suspension exposed to S. enterica serovar Typhimurium. The plant immune response was analyzed by looking at tissue damage and by testing oxidative burst and pH changes. It was found that S. Typhimurium did not promote disease symptoms in the contaminated plants. Live S. Typhimurium did not trigger the production of an oxidative burst and pH changes by the plant cells, while heat killed or chloramphenicol treated S. Typhimurium and purified LPS of Salmonella were significant elicitors, indicating that S. Typhimurium actively suppress the plant response. By looking at the plant response to mutants defective in virulence factors we showed that the suppression depends on secreted factors. Deletion of invA reduced the ability of S. Typhimurium to suppress oxidative burst and pH changes, indicating that a functional SPI1 TTSS is required for the suppression. This study demonstrates that plant colonization by S. Typhimurium is indeed an active process. S. Typhimurium utilizes adaptive strategies of altering innate plant perception systems to improve its fitness in the plant habitat. All together these results suggest a complex mechanism for perception of S. Typhimurium by plants.

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