RNA-seq Brings New Insights to the Intra-Macrophage Transcriptome of Salmonella Typhimurium

Shabarinath Srikumar, Carsten Kröger, Magali Hébrard, Aoife Colgan, Siân V. Owen, Sathesh K. Sivasankaran, Andrew D.S. Cameron, Karsten Hokamp, Jay C.D. Hinton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

172 Citations (Scopus)


Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium is arguably the world’s best-understood bacterial pathogen. However, crucial details about the genetic programs used by the bacterium to survive and replicate in macrophages have remained obscure because of the challenge of studying gene expression of intracellular pathogens during infection. Here, we report the use of deep sequencing (RNA-seq) to reveal the transcriptional architecture and gene activity of Salmonella during infection of murine macrophages, providing new insights into the strategies used by the pathogen to survive in a bactericidal immune cell. We characterized 3583 transcriptional start sites that are active within macrophages, and highlight 11 of these as candidates for the delivery of heterologous antigens from Salmonella vaccine strains. A majority (88%) of the 280 S. Typhimurium sRNAs were expressed inside macrophages, and SPI13 and SPI2 were the most highly expressed pathogenicity islands. We identified 31 S. Typhimurium genes that were strongly up-regulated inside macrophages but expressed at very low levels during in vitro growth. The SalComMac online resource allows the visualisation of every transcript expressed during bacterial replication within mammalian cells. This primary transcriptome of intra-macrophage S.-Typhimurium describes the transcriptional start sites and the transcripts responsible for virulence traits, and catalogues the sRNAs that may play a role in the regulation of gene expression during infection.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1005262
JournalPLoS Pathogens
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Virology


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