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Gut Cell Transformation by Salmonella

Recent research from scientists at The Roslin Institute describes a novel mechanism used by the pathogenic bacterium Salmonella Typhimurium to manipulate epithelial cells in the gut wall to infect the host.

Gut Cell Transformation by Salmonella

Salmonella Typhimurium is an important pathogenic bacterium and leading cause of gastroenteritis in humans and animals. This bacterium specifically targets specialized intestinal epithelial cells termed microfold (M) cells to cross the gut wall and infect the host.

This study identified a protein produced by Salmonella Typhimurium that the bacterium injects into gut epithelial cells to rapidly transform them into M cells to aid the infection and colonization of the host.

By characterising the intracellular signalling mechanism by which the bacterium drives this cellular transformation, this study identifies potential molecular targets for therapeutic intervention.

The results are published in Cell Host & Microbe www.cell.com/cell-host-microbe/abstract/S1931-3128(12)00354-X