|S. enterica Typhimurium colonies on a Hektoen enteric agar plate|
(ex Kauffmann & Edwards 1952) Le Minor & Popoff 1987
Salmonella enterica (formerly Salmonella choleraesuis) is a rod-headed, flagellate, facultative anaerobic, Gram-negative bacterium and a species of the genus Salmonella. A number of its serovars are serious human pathogens.
Main article: Salmonellosis
Most cases of salmonellosis are caused by food infected with S. enterica, which often infects cattle and poultry, though other animals such as domestic cats and hamsters have also been shown to be sources of infection in humans. Investigations of vacuum cleaner bags have shown that households can act as a reservoir of the bacterium; this is more likely if the household has contact with an infection source (i.e., members working with cattle or in a veterinary clinic).
Raw chicken eggs and goose eggs can harbor S. enterica, initially in the egg whites, although most eggs are not infected. As the egg ages at room temperature, the yolk membrane begins to break down and S. enterica can spread into the yolk. Refrigeration and freezing do not kill all the bacteria, but substantially slow or halt their growth. Pasteurizing and food irradiation are used to kill Salmonella for commercially produced foodstuffs containing raw eggs such as ice cream. Foods prepared in the home from raw eggs, such as mayonnaise, cakes, and cookies, can spread salmonellae if not properly cooked before consumption.
S. enterica genomes have been reconstructed from up 6,500 year old human remains across Western Eurasia, which provides evidence for geographic widespread infections with systemic S. enterica during prehistory, and a possible role of the Neolithization process in the evolution of host adaptation. Additional reconstructed genomes from colonial Mexico suggest S. enterica as the cause of cocoliztli, an epidemic in 16th-century New Spain.
Secreted proteins are of major importance for the pathogenesis of infectious diseases caused by S. enterica. A remarkably large number of fimbrial and nonfimbrial adhesins are present in Salmonella, and mediate biofilm formation and contact to host cells. Secreted proteins are also involved in host-cell invasion and intracellular proliferation, two hallmarks of Salmonella pathogenesis.
Small nonprotein-coding RNAs (sRNA) are able to perform specific functions without being translated into proteins; 97 bacterial sRNAs from Salmonella Typhi were discovered.
AsdA (antisense RNA of dnaA) is a cis-encoded antisense RNA of dnaA described in S. enterica serovar Typhi. It was discovered by deep sequencing and its transcription was confirmed by Northern blot and RACE analysis. AsdA is estimated to be about 540 nucleotides long, and represents the complementary strand to that encoding DnaA, a protein that plays a central role in the initiation of DNA replication and hence cellular division. In rich media, it is highly expressed only after reaching the stationary growth phase, but under limiting iron or osmotic stress, it is already expressed during exponential growth. Overexpression of AsdA stabilizes dnaA mRNA, increasing its levels and thereby enhancing its rate of translation. This suggests that AsdA is a regulator of DNA replication.
S. enterica has six subspecies, and each subspecies has associated serovars that differ by antigenic specificity. S. enterica has over 2500 serovars. Salmonella bongori was previously considered a subspecies of S. enterica, but it is now the other species in the genus Salmonella. Most of the human pathogenic Salmonella serovars belong to the enterica subspecies. These serogroups include S. Typhi, S. Enteritidis, S. Paratyphi, S. Typhimurium, and S. Choleraesuis. The serovars can be designated as written in the previous sentence (capitalized and nonitalicized following the genus), or as follows: "S. enterica subsp. enterica, serovar Typhi".