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The invasin and complement-resistance protein Rck of Salmonella is more widely distributed than previously expected

Abstract : The rck open reading frame (ORF) on the pefI-srgC operon encodes an outer membrane protein responsible for invasion of nonphagocytic cell lines and resistance to complement-mediated killing. Until now, the rck ORF was only detected on the virulence plasmids of three serovars of Salmonella subsp. enterica (i.e., Bovismorbificans, Enteritidis, and Typhimurium). The increasing number of Salmonella genome sequences allowed us to use a combination of reference sequences and whole-genome multilocus sequence typing (wgMLST) data analysis to probe the presence of the operon and of rck in a wide array of isolates belonging to all Salmonella species and subspecies. We established the presence of partial or complete operons in 61 subsp. enterica serovars as well as in 4 other subspecies with various syntenies and frequencies. The rck ORF itself was retrieved in 36 subsp. enterica serovars and in two subspecies with either chromosomal or plasmid-borne localization. It displays high conservation of its sequence within the genus, and we demonstrated that most of the allelic variations identified did not alter the virulence properties of the protein. However, we demonstrated the importance of the residue at position 38 (at the level of the first extracellular loop of the protein) in the invasin function of Rck. Altogether, our results highlight that rck is not restricted to the three formerly identified serovars and could therefore have a more important role in virulence than previously expected. Moreover, this work raises questions about the mechanisms involved in rck acquisition and about virulence plasmid distribution and evolution. IMPORTANCE The foodborne pathogen Salmonella is responsible for a wide variety of pathologies depending on the infected host, the infecting serovars, and its set of virulence factors. However, the implication of each of these virulence factors and their role in the specific host-pathogen interplay are not fully understood. The significance of our research is in determining the distribution of one of these factors, the virulence plasmid-encoded invasin and resistance to complement killing protein Rck. In addition to providing elements of reflection concerning the mechanisms of acquisition of specific virulence genes in certain serotypes, this work will help to understand the role of Rck in the pathogenesis of Salmonella.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, November 23, 2021 - 5:18:39 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, November 24, 2021 - 3:46:40 AM

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Michael Koczerka, Pierre-Emmanuel Douarre, Florent Kempf, Sébastien Holbert, Michel-Yves Mistou, et al.. The invasin and complement-resistance protein Rck of Salmonella is more widely distributed than previously expected. Microbiology Spectrum, American Society for Microbiology, 2021, 9 (2), ⟨10.1128/Spectrum.01457-21⟩. ⟨hal-03443779⟩

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