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Genetic and Phenotypic Characterization of a Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis Emerging Strain with Superior Intra-macrophage Replication Phenotype.


Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis (S. Enteritidis) is one of the ubiquitous Salmonella serovars worldwide and a major cause of food-born outbreaks, which are often associated with poultry and poultry derivatives. Here we report a nation-wide S. Enteritidis clonal outbreak that occurred in Israel during the last third of 2015. Pulsed field gel electrophoresis and whole genome sequencing identified genetically related strains that were circulating in Israel as early as 2008. Global comparison linked this outbreak strain to several clinical and marine environmental isolates that were previously isolated in California and Canada, indicating that similar strains are prevalent outside of Israel. Phenotypic comparison between the 2015 outbreak strain and other clinical and reference S. Enteritidis strains showed only limited intra-serovar phenotypic variation in growth in rich medium, invasion into Caco-2 cells, uptake by J774.1A macrophages, and host cell cytotoxicity. In contrast, significant phenotypic variation was shown among different S. Enteritidis isolates when biofilm-formation, motility, invasion into HeLa cells and uptake by THP-1 human macrophages were studied. Interestingly, the 2015 outbreak clone was found to possess superior intra-macrophage replication ability within both murine and human macrophages in comparison to the other S. Enteritidis strains studied. This phenotype is likely to play a role in the virulence and host-pathogen interactions of this emerging clone.

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