Diagnosing the past to predict the future of Salmonella infections

22 Dec 2014 14:44:53.237

Different strains of Salmonella behave in different ways. Understanding how and why four closely related strains evolved to lead a more host adapted invasive life-style is at the heart of new research into the evolution of Salmonella microorganisms.

Paul Barrow, Professor of Veterinary Infectious Diseases at the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, has worked with colleagues in the Sanger Institute at Cambridge for a number of years on the Salmonella strains, S. Gallinarum and S. Pullorum in chickens and S. Dublin in cattle. All three strains cause typhoid-like symptoms in chickens and cattle and they are also closely related to S. Enteritidis — the bug that causes severe food-poisoning in humans.

Professor Barrow said: “Invasive Salmonella infections in humans are rare but can be severe and life-threatening. Shedding light on how human and animal pathogens arose in the past could potentially allow us to predict how emerging pathogens will evolve in the future.

Click here for full story

The new research carried out at several research centres including the Sanger Institute and the University of Liverpool — Patterns of genome evolution that have accompanied host adaptation in Salmonella — has been published today, Monday 22 December 2014, in the academic journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).

Evolution at the level of the microorganism

Previous research by Professor Barrow and his colleagues at these institutions has shown that the four strains are taxonomically and genetically closely related. The current sequencing and SNP analysis suggested that evolution occurred from a more generalist infection-type towards a more host-adapted type as a result of gene exchange and loss and chromosome rearrangement involving surface fimbrial genes and metabolic pathways.

Professor Barrow said: “A small cluster within the food-poisoning strain S. Enteritidis was the ancestral form for the other avian groups of Salmonella evolving towards a greater host-adaptation as more genes loss occurred. Interestingly, this is also associated with a “life-style” involving invasive infection and typhoid diseases as opposed to gut colonisation which is more usually associated with Salmonella.”

This information will be used to identify those components of the bacteria that stimulate the immune response so that we can begin to develop better vaccines and other approaches to immune-modulation.

— Ends —

Our academics can now be interviewed for broadcast via our Media Hub, which offers a Globelynx fixed camera and ISDN line facilities at University Park campus. For further information please contact a member of the Communications team on +44 (0)115 951 5798, email mediahub@nottingham.ac.uk or see the Globelynx website for how to register for this service.

For up to the minute media alerts, follow us on Twitter

Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with campuses in China and Malaysia modelled on a headquarters that is among the most attractive in Britain’ (Times Good University Guide 2014). It is also the most popular university in the UK among graduate employers, in the top 10 for student experience according to the Times Higher Education and winner of ‘Research Project of the Year’ at the THE Awards 2014. It is ranked in the world’s top one per cent of universities by the QS World University Rankings.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…

Story credits

More information is available from Professor Paul Barrow in the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science at The University of Nottingham on +44 (0)115 951 4628, paul.barrow@nottingham.ac.uk
  Lindsay Brooke

Lindsay Brooke - Media Relations Manager

Email: lindsay.brooke@nottingham.ac.uk Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5751 Location: University Park

Additional resources

No additional resources for this article

Related articles

Living antibiotic effective against Salmonella

Published Date
Monday 27th June 2011

Could bug-busting viruses control food poisoning?

Published Date
Monday 4th January 2016

Veterinary and Animal courses are top of the league

Published Date
Friday 3rd October 2014

Nottingham Veterinary School out-performs its rivals

Published Date
Tuesday 25th March 2014

Media Relations - External Relations

The University of Nottingham
YANG Fujia Building
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5798
email: pressoffice@nottingham.ac.uk