Stress response protein BolA influences fitness and promotes Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium virulence

Dalila Mil-Homens, Susana Barahona, Ricardo N. Moreira, Inês J. Silva, Sandra N. Pinto, Arsénio M. Fialho, Cecília M. Arraiano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The intracellular pathogen Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium has emerged as a major cause of foodborne illness, representing a severe clinical and economic concern worldwide. The capacity of this pathogen to efficiently infect and survive inside the host depends on its ability to synchronize a complex network of virulence mechanisms. Therefore, the identification of new virulence determinants has become of paramount importance in the search of new targets for drug development. BolA-like proteins are widely conserved in all kingdoms of life. In Escherichia coli, this transcription factor has a critical regulatory role in several mechanisms that are tightly related to bacterial virulence. Therefore, in the present work we used the well-established infection model Galleria mellonella to evaluate the role of BolA protein in S. Typhimurium virulence. We have shown that BolA is an important player in S. Typhimurium pathogenesis. Specifically, the absence of BolA leads to a defective virulence capacity that is most likely related to the remarkable effect of this protein on S. Typhimurium evasion of the cellular response. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that BolA has a critical role in bacterial survival under harsh conditions since BolA conferred protection against acidic and oxidative stress. Hence, we provide evidence that BolA is a determining factor in the ability of Salmonella to survive and overcome host defense mechanisms, and this is an important step in progress to an understanding of the pathways underlying bacterial virulence.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere02850-17
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • Acidic stress
  • BolA
  • Galleria mellonella
  • Oxidative stress
  • Pathogenesis
  • Salmonella
  • Virulence determinants


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