Salmonella enterica is a bacterial pathogen known to cause gastrointestinal infections in diverse hosts, including humans and animals. Despite extensive knowledge of virulence mechanisms, understanding the factors driving host specificity remains limited. In this study, we performed a comprehensive pangenome-wide analysis of S. enterica to identify potential loci determining preference towards certain hosts. We used a dataset of high-quality genome assemblies grouped into 300 reference clusters with a special focus on four host groups: humans, pigs, cattle, and birds. The reconstructed pangenome was shown to be open and enriched with the accessory component implying high genetic diversity. Notably, phylogenetic inferences did not correspond to the distribution of affected hosts, as large compact phylogenetic groups were absent. By performing a pangenome-wide association study, we identified potential host specificity determinants. These included multiple genes encoding proteins involved in distinct infection stages, e.g., secretion systems, surface structures, transporters, transcription regulators, etc. We also identified antibiotic resistance loci in host-adapted strains. Functional annotation corroborated the results obtained with significant enrichments related to stress response, antibiotic resistance, ion transport, and surface or extracellular localization. We suggested categorizing the revealed specificity factors into three main groups: pathogenesis, resistance to antibiotics, and propagation of mobile genetic elements (MGEs).

Original languageEnglish
Article number13670
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number18
StatePublished - 5 Sep 2023

    Research areas

  • Animals, Anti-Bacterial Agents, Cattle, Host Specificity, Humans, Ion Transport, Phylogeny, Salmonella enterica/genetics, Swine

ID: 113594160