Recent studies of our group have indicated that null mutants of Salmonella enterica to ihfA or ihfB, genes responsible to encode subunits A and B of IHF (Integration host factor), respectively, show virulence attenuation and are capable of inducing protection in a murine model of S. enterica infection. Based on these results, the objective of this project is to further investigate the biological role of IHF in S. enterica Typhimurium. This will be achieved by characterization of mutant strains ihfA or ihfB for phenotyes such as growth in vitro, motility, survival in stationary phase, under acidic conditions, in the presence of bile salts and on the invasiveness and survival in macrophages. The immunogenicity of the mutants will be evaluated using the murine model of infection. In addition, gene expression of ihfA and ihfB in two strains of S. enterica will be evaluated by real-time PCR. Such studies will further evaluate the role of IHF in the virulence of S. enterica Typhimurium and the potential of these strains to be used as a live vaccine strain.
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