RpoE fine tunes expression of a subset of SsrB-regulated virulence factors in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium
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BACKGROUND: The survival of Salmonella enterica within the intracellular host niche requires highly co-ordinated expression of virulence effectors predominantly regulated by the SsrAB two-component regulatory system. S. enterica serovar Typhimurium mutants lacking the ssrAB genes are avirulent in mice, highlighting the importance of this regulatory system in vivo. Mutants lacking the gene encoding the alternative sigma factor sigmaE (rpoE) are also highly attenuated for intracellular survival, pointing to a potential connection with the SsrAB regulatory system. RESULTS: In this study we demonstrate that RpoE is involved in fine-tuning the expression of a subset of SsrB-regulated genes found in the Salmonella pathogenicity island-2 (SPI-2) genetic locus that encodes a horizontally acquired type III secretion system, and unlinked genes integrated into this regulon that are required for virulence in host animals. CONCLUSION: These data point to a potential connection between the virulence phenotype of strains lacking ssrB and rpoE, and highlight new transcriptional regulation that might be essential for appropriate temporal and spatial control of the virulence-associated type III secretion system during host infection.
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