Role of hns in the virulence phenotype of pathogenic salmonellae

Julia A. Harrison, Derek Pickard, Christopher F. Higgins, Anjam Khan, Stephen N. Chatfield, Tahir Ali, Charles J. Dorman, Carlos E. Hormaeche, Gordon Dougan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


A TnphoA‐generated mutant C5060, attenuated for virulence, was derived from the mouse‐virulent Salmonella typhimurium strain C5. This mutation, designated hns‐112::TnphoA, harbours the transposon in the 3 end of hns, with the alkaline phosphatase open reading frame in the opposite orientation to that of hns. Bacterial strains harbouring hns‐112::TnphoA were mucoid and had altered levels of DNA supercoiling, as monitored using pUC18 as a reporter plasmid. Transduction of hns‐112::TnphoA into mouse virulent strains, including S. typhimurium SL1344 and Salmonella enteritidis Se795, resulted in attenuation. When an independent hns mutation, harbouring a kanamycin‐resistance cassette inserted into the Kpnl site at base pair 237 of the hns gene, was introduced into S. typhimurium C5, the isolates were also attenuated. S. typhimurium C5 isolates harbouring the multicopy plasmid pGB651, which encodes the Escherichia coli hns gene, were partially attenuated in mice. Transductional analysis, using Tn10 insertions located close to the hns gene, showed that virulence could be restored In genetic crosses that eliminated the resident hns mutations. However, some hns+ transductants were stilt attenuated, suggesting that secondary attenuating lesions can accumulate in hns‐deficient strains. These studies show that the hns locus plays a role in Salmonella virulence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-140
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1994
Externally publishedYes

Cite this