Cloning and transposon insertion mutagenesis of virulence genes of the 100-kilobase plasmid of Salmonella typhimurium

P. A. Gulig, R. Curtiss

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61 Scopus citations


We have cloned regions of the 100-kilobase (kb) plasmid, pStSR100, Salmonella typhimurium SR-11 that confer virulence to plasmid-cured S. typhimurium. Cells carrying recombinant plasmids that conferred virulence were selected by inoculating mice orally with recombinant libraries in virulence plasmid-cured S. typhimurium and harvesting isolates that infected spleens. Three plasmids, pYA401, pYA402, and pYA403, constructed with the cosmid vector pCVD305 conferred wild-type levels of virulence to plasmid-cured S. typhimurium and had a common 14-kb DNA insert sequence. Another recombinant plasmid, pYA422, constructed with the vector pACYC184, conferred to plasmid-cured S. typhimurium a wild-type 50% lethal dose (LD50) level, but mice died more slowly than when infected with wild-type S. typhimurium. Furthermore, pYA422 conferred the ability to cause a higher, but not a wild-type, level of splenic infection on plasmid-cured S. typhimurium. pYA422 had a 3.2-kb insert sequence which mapped to the center of the 14-kb common sequence of the cosmid clones. Transposition Tn5 insertion mutations in pYA403 inhibited virulence to various degrees, and when transduced into the native virulence plasmid of S. typhimurium, these Tn5 insertions decreased virulence to degrees similar to those observed when the Tn5 insertions were present in pYA403. vir-22::Tn5 in pStSR100 greatly lowered infection of spleens relative to inmutagenized virulence plasmid, while vir-26::Tn5 and vir-27::Tn5 lowered splenic infection to lesser degrees. At least three proteins were encoded by pYA403 containing 23 kb of insert sequence and subclone pYA420, containing the 14-kb common insert sequence present in all of the cosmid clones. One of these proteins, with an apparent molecular weight of 28,000, was also encoded by pYA422. The Tn5 insertion that most attenuated virulence, vir-22::Tn5, inhibited synthesis of the 28,000-molecular-weight protein. The vir-22::Tn5 insertion was complemented by recombinant plasmids encoding only the 28,000-molecular-weight protein, suggesting a role of this protein in virulence. However, recombinant plasmids, exemplified by pYA422, that encoded only the 28,000-molecular-weight protein did not confer full virulence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3262-3271
Number of pages10
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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