Infection and immunity

Salmonella enterica serovar enteritidis antimicrobial peptide resistance genes aid in defense against chicken innate immunity, fecal shedding, and egg deposition.

PMID 25267840


Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis (S. Enteritidis) is a major etiologic agent of nontyphoid salmonellosis in the United States. S. Enteritidis persistently and silently colonizes the intestinal and reproductive tract of laying hens, resulting in contaminated poultry products. The consumption of contaminated poultry products has been identified as a significant risk factor for human salmonellosis. To understand the mechanisms S. Enteritidis utilizes to colonize and persist in laying hens, we used selective capture of transcribed sequences to identify genes overexpressed in the HD11 chicken macrophage cell line and in primary chicken oviduct epithelial cells. From the 15 genes found to be overexpressed in both cell types, we characterized the antimicrobial peptide resistance (AMPR) genes, virK and ybjX, in vitro and in vivo. In vitro, AMPR genes were required for natural morphology, motility, secretion, defense against detergents such as EDTA and bile salts, and resistance to antimicrobial peptides polymyxin B and avian β-defensins. From this, we inferred the AMPR genes play a role in outer membrane stability and/or modulation. In the intestinal tract, AMPR genes were involved in early intestinal colonization and fecal shedding. In the reproductive tract, virK was required in early colonization whereas a deletion of ybjX caused prolonged ovary colonization and egg deposition. Data from the present study indicate that AMPR genes are differentially utilized in various host environments, which may ultimately assist S. Enteritidis in persistent and silent colonization of chickens.