The Salmonella genus comprises a group of pathogens associated with illnesses ranging from gastroenteritis to typhoid fever. We performed an in silico analysis of comparatively reannotated Salmonella genomes to identify genomic signatures indicative of disease potential. By removing numerous annotation inconsistencies and inaccuracies, the process of reannotation identified a network of 469 genes involved in central anaerobic metabolism, which was intact in genomes of gastrointestinal pathogens but degrading in genomes of extraintestinal pathogens. This large network contained pathways that enable gastrointestinal pathogens to utilize inflammation-derived nutrients as well as many of the biochemical reactions used for the enrichment and biochemical discrimination of Salmonella serovars. Thus, comparative genome analysis identifies a metabolic network that provides clues about the strategies for nutrient acquisition and utilization that are characteristic of gastrointestinal pathogens.
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