Purpose Salmonella enterica enterica encodes a variety of virulence factors. Among them, the type III secretion system (TTSS) encoded in the Salmonella pathogenicity islands (SPIs) is required for induction of proinflammatory responses, invasion of intestinal epithelial cells, induction of cell death in macrophages, and elicitation of diarrhea. The presence of the effector protein genes sopB, sopD, sopE, sopE2, avrA, and sptP of the SPIs was analyzed in 194 S. enterica enterica strains belonging to 19 serovars. Methods S. enterica enterica strains were collected from children with gastroenteritis, either hospitalized or attending the outpatient clinic, aged 1-14 years. Nineteen different serotypes were included in the study. Serotyping, biofilm formation determination, and antimicrobial resistance of the planktonic as well as the biofilm forms of the strains have been reported previously.
Results At least one virulence gene was present in all Salmonella isolates. Biofilm formation was statistically independent of any of the six genes. Strains lacking sopE and sopE2 were more resistant to all the antimicrobials.
Conclusions The association of the virulence genes with the antimicrobial resistance of Salmonella in general has been previously reported and is a matter of further investigation. For the clinical expression of pathogenicity in humans, the contribution of these genes is questionable, as some strains bearing only a single gene (either sptP or avrA) were still capable of causing gastroenteritis.