Roles of the Outer Membrane Protein AsmA of Salmonella enterica in the Control of marRAB Expression and Invasion of Epithelial Cells▿

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Prieto, Ana I. ; Hernández, Sara B. ; Cota, Ignacio ; Pucciarelli, M. Graciela ; Orlov, Yuri ; Ramos-Morales, Francisco ; García-del Portillo, Francisco ; Casadesús, Josep (2009)
  • Publisher: American Society for Microbiology (ASM)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1128/JB.01592-08
  • Subject: Molecular Biology of Pathogens

A genetic screen for suppressors of bile sensitivity in DNA adenine methylase (dam) mutants of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium yielded insertions in an uncharacterized locus homologous to the Escherichia coli asmA gene. Disruption of asmA suppressed bile sensitivity also in phoP and wec mutants of S. enterica and increased the MIC of sodium deoxycholate for the parental strain ATCC 14028. Increased levels of marA mRNA were found in asmA, asmA dam, asmA phoP, and asmA wec strains of S. enterica, suggesting that lack of AsmA activates expression of the marRAB operon. Hence, asmA mutations may enhance bile resistance by inducing gene expression changes in the marRAB-controlled Mar regulon. In silico analysis of AsmA structure predicted the existence of one transmembrane domain. Biochemical analysis of subcellular fractions revealed that the asmA gene of S. enterica encodes a protein of ∼70 kDa located in the outer membrane. Because AsmA is unrelated to known transport and/or efflux systems, we propose that activation of marRAB in asmA mutants may be a consequence of envelope reorganization. Competitive infection of BALB/c mice with asmA+ and asmA isogenic strains indicated that lack of AsmA attenuates Salmonella virulence by the oral route but not by the intraperitoneal route. Furthermore, asmA mutants showed a reduced ability to invade epithelial cells in vitro.
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