Correlation between physiological fluid shear and RpoS in regulating the stationary phase stress response in Salmonella
Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium) is a Gram-negative enteric pathogen that causes self-limiting gastroenteritis in healthy individuals and can cause systemic infections in those who are immunocompromised. During its natural lifecycle, S. Typhimurium encounters a wide variety of stresses it must sense and respond to in a dynamic and coordinated fashion to induce resistance and ensure survival. Salmonella is subjected to a series of stresses that include temperature shifts, pH variability, detergent-like bile salts, oxidative environments and changes in fluid shear levels. Previously, our lab showed that cultures of S. Typhimurium grown under physiological low fluid shear (LFS) conditions similar to those encountered in the intestinal tract during infection uniquely regulates the virulence, gene expression and pathogenesis-related stress responses of this pathogen during log phase. Interestingly, the log phase Salmonella mechanosensitive responses to LFS were independent of the master stress response sigma factor, RpoS, departing from our conventional understanding of RpoS regulation. Since RpoS is a growth phase dependent regulator with increased stability in stationary phase, the current study investigated the role of RpoS in mediating pathogenesis-related stress responses in stationary phase S. Typhimurium grown under LFS and control conditions. Specifically, stationary phase responses to acid, thermal, bile and oxidative stress were assayed. To our knowledge the results from the current study demonstrate the first report that the mechanical force of LFS globally alters the S. Typhimurium χ3339 stationary phase stress response independently of RpoS to acid and bile stressors but dependently on RpoS to oxidative and thermal stress. This indicates that fluid shear-dependent differences in acid and bile stress responses are regulated by alternative pathway(s) in S. Typhimurium, were the oxidative and thermal stress responses are regulated through RpoS in LFS conditions. Results from this study further highlight how bacterial mechanosensation may be important in promoting niche recognition and adaptation in the mammalian host during infection, and may lead to characterization of previously unidentified pathogenesis strategies.