Adhesion is an important initial step during bacterial colonization of the intestinal mucosa. However, mutations in the Salmonella typhimurium fimbrial operons lpf, pef, fim only moderately alter mouse virulence. The respective adhesins may thus play only a minor role during infection or S. typhimurium may encode alternative virulence factors that can functionally compensate for their loss. To address this question, we constructed mutations in all four known fimbrial operons of S. typhimurium: fim, lpf, pef, and agf. A mutation in the agfB gene resulted in a threefold increase in the oral 50% lethal dose (LD50) of S. typhimurium for mice. In contrast, an S. typhimurium strain carrying mutations in all four fimbrial operons (quadruple mutant) had a 26-fold increased oral LD50. The quadruple mutant, but not the agfB mutant, was recovered in reduced numbers from murine fetal pellets, suggesting that a reduced ability to colonize the intestinal lumen contributed to its attenuation. These data are evidence for a synergistic action of fimbrial operons during colonization of the mouse intestine and the development of murine typhoid fever.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases