Date Published: October 15, 2012
Author(s): Gaurav Jindal, Rupinder Tewari, Ankur Gautam, Satish K Pandey, Praveen Rishi.
Like any other enteric pathogen, Salmonella also encounters acidic stress in the stomach as well as within the host macrophage milieu. However, the pathogen is reported to combat this stress through acid tolerance response (ATR), expressing a number of genes and eventually the proteins. Recently, an acid induced outer membrane phenotype encoded by fliC gene in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi has been identified. In the present study, fliC gene was cloned to study its biological implications. The recombinant FliC (rFliC) protein was observed to stimulate the production of antibodies. These antibodies could also recognize the FliC protein (antigen) in the clinical samples i.e. blood samples from typhoid patents as well as healthy blood samples spiked with serovar Typhi. Moreover, the rFliC also reacted with the sera from patients suffering with typhoid fever indicating its in-vivo immunogenicity. Ex-vivo study revealed that rFliC has the potential to stimulate the macrophages to generate higher levels of inflammatory mediators such as malondialdehyde (MDA) and nitrite. The inflammatory potential of FliC was also confirmed in-vivo, by the paw oedema test as well as by flicking response of the inflamed paw indicating hyperalgesia occurring during inflammatory response. The findings of the present study indicate that acid induced FliC might be one of the factors enhancing the virulence of serovar Typhi under the host acidic conditions and may prove to be helpful in designing the prophylactic measures.
Salmonella pathogenicity is multifactorial and the expression of various virulence determinants has been reported to differ under in-vivo and in-vitro situations (Chanana et al. 2007a, b; Cruz et al. 2010 and Diacovich et al. 2010). Therefore, there is a renewed interest in understanding the behavior of the pathogens in different environments of the host like low pH, elevated temperature, changes in osmotic strength, presence of cationic peptides as well as the availability of ions and nutrients.
The gene encoding acid induced phenotype (AIP) in Salmonella was identified to be fliC gene in the previous study (Jindal et al. 2011). In the present report, serovar Typhi fliC gene was cloned, expressed and the recombinant protein was purified to assess the possible biological implications of this dynamic protein.
The author(s) declare that they have no competing interests.
PR designed the experiments, analyzed the results and drafted the manuscript. RT provided help in developing the recombinant protein, AG designed the primer and helped in cloning experiment. GJ and SKP performed the experiments. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.