Indexed on: 18 Jul '14Published on: 18 Jul '14Published in: Microbiology (Reading, England)
The metabolic adaptation of strong mutator strains was studied to better understand the link between the strong mutator phenotype and virulence. Analysis of the growth curves of isogenic strains of Salmonella, which were previously grown in M63 glucose media, revealed that the exponential phase of growth was reached earlier in an M63 acetate medium with strong mutator strains (mutated in mutS or in mutL) than with normomutator strains (P<0.05). Complemented strains confirmed the direct role of the strong mutator phenotype in this faster metabolic adaptation to the assimilation of acetate. In a mixed cell population, proliferation of strong mutators over normomutators was observed when the carbon source was switched from glucose to acetate. These results add to the sparse body of knowledge about strong mutators and highlight the selective advantage conferred by the strong mutator phenotype to adapt to a switch of carbon source in the environment. This work may provide clinically useful information given that there is a high prevalence of strong mutators among pathogenic strains of Salmonella and that acetate is the principal short chain fatty acid of the human terminal ileum and colon where Salmonella infection is localized.