Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


What fuels Salmonella's invasion strategy?


Certain strains of Salmonella bacteria such as Salmonella Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium) are among of the most common causes of food-borne gastroenteritis.

Other strains of Salmonella such as S. Typhi are responsible for typhoid fever, which causes 200,000 deaths around the world each year. Ensuring food is clear of contamination, and water is clean are key to reducing the effects Salmonella can have, but we also need more effective ways to combat Salmonella once it's inside our bodies.

This is Salmonella Typhimurium.

Credit: Institute of Food Research

To address this the Institute of Food Research, strategically supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, has been studying S. Typhimurium bacteria to understand, not only how they transmit through the food chain, but why they are so effective and dangerous once inside us.

If we consume food or water contaminated with S. Typhimurium, the first stage of infection is to get into the cells that line our gut. These epithelial cells are adapted to defend against such attacks, but Salmonella has a wealth of strategies to overcome these and make it more virulent. It also needs these virulence genes to overcome the cells of the immune system, which it invades to move around the body.

We are learning a lot about these virulence genes, but until this new study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, we didn't know how Salmonella fuelled itself for this. A source of energy and nutrition is vital, and knowing what Salmonella uses could inform new strategies to prevent infection.

To discover more about Salmonella's feeding habits, Dr Arthur Thompson and his team constructed S. Typhimurium strains lacking certain key genes in important metabolic pathways. They then examined how well these mutated strains reproduced in human epithelial cells, grown in cultures.

"We found that glucose is the major nutrient used by S. Typhimurium," said Dr Thompson. Salmonella converts glucose to pyruvate in a process called glycolysis, which also releases energy needed to fuel growth and reproduction.

Knocking out one enzyme in glycolysis, and enzymes used to transport glucose into the bacteria severely reduced S. Typhimurium's ability to reproduce in epithelial cells, but didn't eradicate it completely. "This suggests that although S. Typhimurium requires glucose, it is also able to use other nutrients, and that's something we're now studying," said Dr Thompson.

This contrasts with previous findings from similar experiments on macrophage cells by the IFR team, as for successful macrophage invasion, glycolysis is absolutely essential. Macrophages are the immune cells sent to destroy Salmonella, but instead Salmonella invades the macrophages. Infected macrophages can carry Salmonella around the body causing a potentially fatal systemic infection.

"We now have a much more complete picture of the nutritional needs of Salmonella, which is important since this information may also suggest new ways to develop potential therapeutic interventions," said Dr Thompson.

Andrew Chapple | Eurek Alert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Molecular trigger for Cerebral Cavernous Malformation identified
26.11.2015 | EMBO - excellence in life sciences

nachricht Peering into cell structures where neurodiseases emerge
26.11.2015 | University of Delaware

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Climate study finds evidence of global shift in the 1980s

Planet Earth experienced a global climate shift in the late 1980s on an unprecedented scale, fuelled by anthropogenic warming and a volcanic eruption, according to new research published this week.

Scientists say that a major step change, or ‘regime shift’, in the Earth’s biophysical systems, from the upper atmosphere to the depths of the ocean and from...

Im Focus: Innovative Photovoltaics – from the Lab to the Façade

Fraunhofer ISE Demonstrates New Cell and Module Technologies on its Outer Building Façade

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has installed 70 photovoltaic modules on the outer façade of one of its lab buildings. The modules were...

Im Focus: Lactate for Brain Energy

Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.

In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...

Im Focus: Laser process simulation available as app for first time

In laser material processing, the simulation of processes has made great strides over the past few years. Today, the software can predict relatively well what will happen on the workpiece. Unfortunately, it is also highly complex and requires a lot of computing time. Thanks to clever simplification, experts from Fraunhofer ILT are now able to offer the first-ever simulation software that calculates processes in real time and also runs on tablet computers and smartphones. The fast software enables users to do without expensive experiments and to find optimum process parameters even more effectively.

Before now, the reliable simulation of laser processes was a job for experts. Armed with sophisticated software packages and after many hours on computer...

Im Focus: Quantum Simulation: A Better Understanding of Magnetism

Heidelberg physicists use ultracold atoms to imitate the behaviour of electrons in a solid

Researchers at Heidelberg University have devised a new way to study the phenomenon of magnetism. Using ultracold atoms at near absolute zero, they prepared a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

Fraunhofer’s Urban Futures Conference: 2 days in the city of the future

25.11.2015 | Event News

Gluten oder nicht Gluten? Überempfindlichkeit auf Weizen kann unterschiedliche Ursachen haben

17.11.2015 | Event News

Art Collection Deutsche Börse zeigt Ausstellung „Traces of Disorder“

21.10.2015 | Event News

Latest News

Using sphere packing models to explain the structure of forests

26.11.2015 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Dimensionality transition in a newly created material

26.11.2015 | Materials Sciences

Revealing glacier flow with animated satellite images

26.11.2015 | Earth Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>