Salmonella pathogenicity and host adaptation in chicken-associated serovars

Steven L. Foley, Tim Johnson, Steven C. Ricke, Rajesh Nayak, Jessica Danzeisen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

193 Scopus citations


Enteric pathogens such as Salmonella enterica cause significant morbidity and mortality. S. enterica serovars are a diverse group of pathogens that have evolved to survive in a wide range of environments and across multiple hosts. S. enterica serovars such as S. Typhi, S. Dublin, and S. Gallinarum have a restricted host range, in which they are typically associated with one or a few host species, while S. Enteritidis and S. Typhimurium have broad host ranges. This review examines how S. enterica has evolved through adaptation to different host environments, especially as related to the chicken host, and continues to be an important human pathogen. Several factors impact host range, and these include the acquisition of genes via horizontal gene transfer with plasmids, transposons, and phages, which can potentially expand host range, and the loss of genes or their function, which would reduce the range of hosts that the organism can infect. S. Gallinarum, with a limited host range, has a large number of pseudogenes in its genome compared to broader-host-range serovars. S. enterica serovars such as S. Kentucky and S. Heidelberg also often have plasmids that may help them colonize poultry more efficiently. The ability to colonize different hosts also involves interactions with the host's immune system and commensal organisms that are present. Thus, the factors that impact the ability of Salmonella to colonize a particular host species, such as chickens, are complex and multifactorial, involving the host, the pathogen, and extrinsic pressures. It is the interplay of these factors which leads to the differences in host ranges that we observe today.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)582-607
Number of pages26
JournalMicrobiology and Molecular Biology Reviews
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2013


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