Factors Required for Adhesion of Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium to Corn Salad (Valerianella locusta)

Laura Elpers, Juliane Kretzschmar, Sean Paul Nuccio, Andreas J. Bäumler, Michael Hensel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Salmonella enterica is a foodborne pathogen often leading to gastroenteritis and is commonly acquired by consumption of contaminated food of animal origin. However, frequency of outbreaks linked to the consumption of fresh or minimally processed food of nonanimal origin is increasing. New infection routes of S. enterica by vegetables, fruits, nuts, and herbs have to be considered. This leads to special interest in S. enterica interactions with leafy products, e.g., salads, that are mainly consumed in a minimally processed form. The attachment of S. enterica to salad is a crucial step in contamination, but little is known about the bacterial factors required and mechanisms of adhesion. S. enterica possesses a complex set of adhesive structures whose functions are only partly understood. Potentially, S. enterica may deploy multiple adhesive strategies for adhering to various salad species and other vegetables. In this study, we systematically analyzed the contributions of the complete adhesiome, of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and of flagellum-mediated motility of S. enterica serovar Typhimurium (STM) in adhesion to Valerianella locusta (corn salad). We deployed a reductionist, synthetic approach to identify factors involved in the surface binding of STM to leaves of corn salad, with particular regard to the expression of all known adhesive structures, using the Tet-on system. This work reveals the contribution of Saf fimbriae, type 1 secretion system-secreted BapA, an intact LPS, and flagellum-mediated motility of STM in adhesion to corn salad leaves.IMPORTANCE Transmission of gastrointestinal pathogens by contaminated fresh produce is of increasing relevance to human health. However, the mechanisms of contamination of, persistence on, and transmission by fresh produce are poorly understood. We investigated the contributions of the various adhesive structures of STM to the initial event in transmission, i.e., binding to the plant surface. A reductionist system was used that allowed experimentally controlled surface expression of individual adhesive structures and analyses of the contribution to binding to leave surfaces of corn salad under laboratory conditions. The model system allowed the determination of the relative contributions of fimbrial and nonfimbrial adhesins, the type 3 secretion systems, the O antigen of lipopolysaccharide, the flagella, and chemotaxis of STM to binding to corn salad leaves. Based on these data, future work could reveal the mechanism of binding and the relevance of interaction under agricultural conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • adhesiome
  • adhesion
  • fimbriae
  • fresh produce

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Factors Required for Adhesion of Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium to Corn Salad (Valerianella locusta)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this