Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium causes human infections that can frequently be traced back through the food chain to healthy livestock whose intestine is colonized by the pathogen. Little is known about the genes important for intestinal carriage of 5. enterica serotype Typhimurium in vertebrate animals. Here we characterized the role of 10 fimbrial operons, agf, fim, lpf, pef, bcf, stb, stc, std, stf, and sth, using competitive infection experiments performed in genetically susceptible (BALB/c) and resistant (CBA) mice. Deletion of agfAB, fimAICDHF, lpfABCDE, pefABCDI, bcfABCDEFG, stbABCD, stcABCD, stdAB, stfACDEFG, or sthABCDE did not reduce the ability of 5. enterica serotype Typhimurium to colonize the spleen and cecum of BALB/c mice 5 days after infection. Similarly, deletion of agfAB, fimAICDHF, pefABCDI, and stfACDEFG did not result in reduced recovery of 5. enterica serotype Typhimurium from fecal samples collected from infected CBA mice over a 30-day time period. However, 5. enterica serotype Typhimurium strains carrying deletions in IpfABCDE, bcfABCDEFG, stbABCD, stcABCD, stdAB, or sthABCDE were recovered at significantly reduced numbers from the feces of CBA mice. There was a good correlation (R2 = 0.9626) between competitive indices in the cecum and fecal samples of CBA mice at 30 days after infection, suggesting that the recovery of S. enterica serotype Typhimurium from fecal samples closely reflected its ability to colonize the cecum. Collectively, these data show that six flmbrial operons (lpf, bcf, stb, stc, std, and sth) contribute to long-term intestinal carriage of 5. enterica serotype Typhimurium in genetically resistant mice.
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