Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Analysis of the ArcA regulon in anaerobically grown Salmonella enterica sv. Typhimurium

Matthew R Evans14, Ryan C Fink15, Andres Vazquez-Torres2, Steffen Porwollik3, Jessica Jones-Carson2, Michael McClelland3 and Hosni M Hassan1*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Microbiology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695-7615 USA

2 Department of Microbiology, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, Colorado 80262 USA

3 The Vaccine Research Institute of San Diego, 10835 Road to the Cure, Suite 105, San Diego, California 92121 USA

4 Pfizer, Inc., 4300 Oak Park Road, Sanford, NC 27330-9550 USA

5 Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108-1038 USA

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Citation and License

BMC Microbiology 2011, 11:58  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-11-58

Published: 21 March 2011



Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium) is a Gram-negative pathogen that must successfully adapt to the broad fluctuations in the concentration of dissolved dioxygen encountered in the host. In Escherichia coli, ArcA (

ontrol) helps the cells to sense and respond to the presence of dioxygen. The global role of ArcA in E. coli is well characterized; however, little is known about its role in anaerobically grown S. Typhimurium.


We compared the transcriptional profiles of the virulent wild-type (WT) strain (ATCC 14028s) and its isogenic arcA mutant grown under anaerobic conditions. We found that ArcA directly or indirectly regulates 392 genes (8.5% of the genome); of these, 138 genes are poorly characterized. Regulation by ArcA in S. Typhimurium is similar, but distinct from that in E. coli. Thus, genes/operons involved in core metabolic pathways (e.g., succinyl-CoA, fatty acid degradation, cytochrome oxidase complexes, flagellar biosynthesis, motility, and chemotaxis) were regulated similarly in the two organisms. However, genes/operons present in both organisms, but regulated differently by ArcA in S. Typhimurium included those coding for ethanolamine utilization, lactate transport and metabolism, and succinate dehydrogenases. Salmonella-specific genes/operons regulated by ArcA included those required for propanediol utilization, flagellar genes (mcpAC, cheV), Gifsy-1 prophage genes, and three SPI-3 genes (mgtBC, slsA, STM3784). In agreement with our microarray data, the arcA mutant was non-motile, lacked flagella, and was as virulent in mice as the WT. Additionally, we identified a set of 120 genes whose regulation was shared with the anaerobic redox regulator, Fnr.


We have identified the ArcA regulon in anaerobically grown S. Typhimurium. Our results demonstrated that in S. Typhimurium, ArcA serves as a transcriptional regulator coordinating cellular metabolism, flagella biosynthesis, and motility. Furthermore, ArcA and Fnr share in the regulation of 120 S. Typhimurium genes.