Anti-virulence factor in Salmonella discovered
Researchers at the University of British Columbia,
Canada, have discovered an anti-virulence factor in Salmonella, providing
knowledge that could be used to design improved Salmonella
Virulence factors allow a pathogen to thrive in the host and cause disease.
An anti-virulence factor controls the degree of infectiveness.
The finding, published in Public Library of Science, suggests that there is a
distinct pathway in Salmonella that acts as an anti-virulence factor during
salmonellosis. This pathway is also involved in fine-tuning the host-pathogen
balance during salmonellosis.
The research demonstrates that the pathway is activated prior to ingestion
and entry into the intestine and then shut off once Salmonella penetrates the
"When the anti-virulence factor is knocked out Salmonella becomes up to 10
times more virulent," says Brett Finlay, Peter Wall Prof. of Microbiology and
Biochemistry at UBC and senior investigator at the Michael Smith Laboratories.
"The research also demonstrates that Salmonella has the ability to control its
virulence even before it enters the host."
"The pathway is designed to initially control the level of virulence and not
kill the host immediately," says Finlay. "Tapering the level of infectiveness
allows Salmonella to establish itself in the host and then become more
"This research will allow us to design improved salmonella vaccines," says
Finlay. "We will be able to better tailor the vaccine strain with the
appropriate level of virulence."
â€¢ University of British Columbia
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