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<jats:title>ABSTRACT</jats:title> <jats:p> <jats:named-content content-type="genus-species">Salmonella enterica</jats:named-content> serovar Typhi is a human-restricted Gram-negative bacterial pathogen responsible for causing an estimated 27 million cases of typhoid fever annually, leading to 217,000 deaths, and current vaccines do not offer full protection. The O-antigen side chain of the lipopolysaccharide is an immunodominant antigen, can define host-pathogen interactions, and is under consideration as a vaccine target for some Gram-negative species. The composition of the O-antigen can be modified by the activity of glycosyltransferase ( <jats:italic>gtr</jats:italic> ) operons acquired by horizontal gene transfer. Here we investigate the role of two <jats:italic>gtr</jats:italic> operons that we identified in the <jats:italic>S</jats:italic> . Typhi genome. Strains were engineered to express specific <jats:italic>gtr</jats:italic> operons. Full chemical analysis of the O-antigens of these strains identified <jats:italic>gtr</jats:italic> -dependent glucosylation and acetylation. The glucosylated form of the O-antigen mediated enhanced survival in human serum and decreased complement binding. A single nucleotide deviation from an epigenetic phase variation signature sequence rendered the expression of this glucosylating <jats:italic>gtr</jats:italic> operon uniform in the population. In contrast, the expression of the acetylating <jats:italic>gtrC</jats:italic> gene is controlled by epigenetic phase variation. Acetylation did not affect serum survival, but phase variation can be an immune evasion mechanism, and thus, this modification may contribute to persistence in a host. In murine immunization studies, both O-antigen modifications were generally immunodominant. Our results emphasize that natural O-antigen modifications should be taken into consideration when assessing responses to vaccines, especially O-antigen-based vaccines, and that the <jats:named-content content-type="genus-species">Salmonella</jats:named-content> <jats:italic>gtr</jats:italic> repertoire may confound the protective efficacy of broad-ranging <jats:named-content content-type="genus-species">Salmonella</jats:named-content> lipopolysaccharide conjugate vaccines. </jats:p>

Original publication





Infection and Immunity


American Society for Microbiology

Publication Date