BackgroundSalmonella enterica serotype Paratyphi A is a human-restricted cause of paratyphoid fever, accounting for up to a fifth of all cases of enteric fever in Asia.
Methodology/principal findingsIn this work, we applied an RNA analysis method, Selective Capture of Transcribed Sequences (SCOTS), and cDNA hybridization-microarray technology to identify S. Paratyphi A transcripts expressed by bacteria in the blood of three patients in Bangladesh. In total, we detected 1,798 S. Paratyphi A mRNAs expressed in the blood of infected humans (43.9% of the ORFeome). Of these, we identified 868 in at least two patients, and 315 in all three patients. S. Paratyphi A transcripts identified in at least two patients encode proteins involved in energy metabolism, nutrient and iron acquisition, vitamin biosynthesis, stress responses, oxidative stress resistance, and pathogenesis. A number of detected transcripts are expressed from PhoP and SlyA-regulated genes associated with intra-macrophage survival, genes contained within Salmonella Pathogenicity Islands (SPIs) 1-4, 6, 10, 13, and 16, as well as RpoS-regulated genes. The largest category of identified transcripts is that of encoding proteins with unknown function. When comparing levels of bacterial mRNA using in vivo samples collected from infected patients to samples from in vitro grown organisms, we found significant differences for 347, 391, and 456 S. Paratyphi A transcripts in each of three individual patients (approximately 9.7% of the ORFeome). Of these, expression of 194 transcripts (4.7% of ORFs) was concordant in two or more patients, and 41 in all patients. Genes encoding these transcripts are contained within SPI-1, 3, 6 and 10, PhoP-regulated genes, involved in energy metabolism, nutrient acquisition, drug resistance, or uncharacterized genes. Using quantitative RT-PCR, we confirmed increased gene expression in vivo for a subset of these genes.
Conclusion/significanceTo our knowledge, we describe the first microarray-based transcriptional analysis of a pathogen in the blood of naturally infected humans.