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Salmonella adapts to plants and their environment during colonization of tomatoes

Humans and animals are considered typical hosts for Salmonella, however, also plants can be colonized. Tomatoes were linked to salmonellosis outbreaks already on several occasions. The aim of this study was, therefore, to establish a comprehensive view on the interaction between Salmonella enterica and tomatoes, and to test the hypothesis that colonization of plants is an interactive process. We assessed the persistence of Salmonella in agricultural soil, the colonization pattern in and on tomatoes, as well as the reciprocal responses of tomatoes to different Salmonella strains and Salmonella to root exudates and tomato-related media. This study revealed that Salmonella can persist in the soil and inside the tomato plant. Additionally, we show that Salmonella strains have particular colonization pattern, although the persistence inside the plant differs between the tested strains. Furthermore, the transcriptome response of tomato showed an up-regulation of several defense-related genes. Salmonella transcriptome analysis in response to the plant-based media showed differentially regulated genes related to amino acid and fatty acid synthesis and stress response, while the response to root exudates revealed regulation of the glyoxylate cycle. Our results indicate that both organisms actively engage in the interaction and that Salmonella adapts to the plant environment.

Zarkani, A.A.; Schierstaedt, J.; Becker, M.; Krumwiede, J.; Grimm, M., Grosch, R.; Jechalke, S.; Schikora, A. 2019. Salmonella adapts to plants and their environment during colonization of tomatoes. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 95(11), Fiz152.

DOI: 10.1093/femsec/fiz152