Conventional wisdom holds that phase variation is a mechanism for immune evasion. However, despite fimbrial phase variation, mice previously exposed to Salmonella typhimurium are protected against a subsequent challenge. We evaluated whether lpf phase variation instead may be a mechanism to evade cross-immunity between Salmonella serotypes. Mice were immunized orally with S. typhimurium aroA mutants either that expressed the lpf operon (phase-on variant) or in which the entire lpf operon had been removed by deletion. During a subsequent challenge with virulent Salmonella enteritidis a selection against lpf phase-on variants was observed in mice previously exposed to S. typhimurium long polar fimbriae. Vaccination with S. typhimurium did not confer protection against challenge with S. enteritidis, presumably because lpf phase-off variants were able to evade cross-immunity. We propose that lpf phase variation is a mechanism to evade cross-immunity between Salmonella serotypes, thereby allowing their coexistence in a host population.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Nov 9 1999|
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