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Researchers Identify Key Gene That Controls Emergence Of Salmonella

ow know that this gene can be turned on or off depending on where the organism is growing. What we think is really important is that this gene or a master switch controlling this gene is really a key process in how salmonella makes a living in animals."

Isaacson reported salmonella's two genetic phenotypes in 1992. The new work sought to find the differences by comparing mutants with the two forms of the Salmonella typhimurium strain. Using antibiotic-resistant markers and a detection technique called SDS-polyacrylamine gel electrophoresis, they identified the RfaL gene that is required to produce O-antigen.

U. of I. scientists also have been looking on farms for reservoirs of salmonella. Their results suggest that the prevalance of salmonella in swine herds is high, and that the pig is an important reservoir. "It does look like the most likely reservoir is the pig itself," Isaacson said. "It may be that the only real solution is a biotechnological approach that would trick salmonella into turning itself off so it could be naturally cleared from the pigs."


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Contact: Jim Barlow, Life Sciences Editor
b-james3@uiuc.edu
217-333-5802
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
4-Feb-1999


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