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Department of Animal Sciences
The Robert H. Smith Faculty
of Agricultural, Food & Environment

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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Cyclic-di-GMP regulation promotes survival of a slow-replicating subpopulation of intracellular Salmonella Typhimurium


Petersen, E. ; Mills, E. ; Miller, S. I. Cyclic-di-GMP regulation promotes survival of a slow-replicating subpopulation of intracellular Salmonella Typhimurium. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2019, 116, 6335.

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Cyclic di-GMP is a bacterial second messenger that transmits extracellular signals to the intracellular environment via sensor cyclic-di-GMP−metabolizing enzymes. Here a fluorescent biosensor is used to accurately measure cyclic-di-GMP concentrations in thousands of individual intracellular Salmonella Typhimurium. Furthermore, three enzymes that reduce cyclic-di-GMP concentrations were identified and shown to be essential for reduction of cyclic di-GMP, intracellular survival, and full virulence for mice. This was due to cyclic-di-GMP−mediated overproduction of cellulose that specifically affected a population of slowly replicating bacteria. These results further our knowledge of mechanisms of virulence and persistence of this important pathogen.Salmonella Typhimurium can invade and survive within macrophages where the bacterium encounters a range of host environmental conditions. Like many bacteria, S. Typhimurium rapidly responds to changing environments by the use of second messengers such as cyclic di-GMP (c-di-GMP). Here, we generate a fluorescent biosensor to measure c-di-GMP concentrations in thousands of individual bacteria during macrophage infection and to define the sensor enzymes important to c-di-GMP regulation. Three sensor phosphodiesterases were identified as critical to maintaining low c-di-GMP concentrations generated after initial phagocytosis by macrophages. Maintenance of low c-di-GMP concentrations by these phosphodiesterases was required to promote survival within macrophages and virulence for mice. Attenuation of S. Typhimurium virulence was due to overproduction of c-di-GMP−regulated cellulose, as deletion of the cellulose synthase machinery restored virulence to a strain lacking enzymatic activity of the three phosphodiesterases. We further identified that the cellulose-mediated reduction in survival was constrained to a slow-replicating persister population of S. Typhimurium induced within the macrophage intracellular environment. As utilization of glucose has been shown to be required for S. Typhimurium macrophage survival, one possible hypothesis is that this persister population requires the glucose redirected to the synthesis of cellulose to maintain a slow-replicating, metabolically active state.

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Last updated on 07/11/2019