Salmonella Typhimurium is the causative agent of non-typhoidal, foodborne salmonellosis. Contamination of hen eggs by the bacterium is a common source of S. Typhimurium infection. S. Typhimurium is peritrichous, and flagellum-dependent motility and chemotaxis are believed to facilitate egg contamination despite the presence of many antimicrobial egg components. We performed motility and chemotaxis assays to demonstrate that S. Typhimurium cells are attracted to egg yolks and are repelled by albumen. The bacterial flagellar motor shows bidirectional rotation, and counterclockwise-biased rotation allows cells to swim smoothly. A rotation assay for a single flagellum showed that, in comparison with thin albumen, the thick albumen more strongly affected the directional bias of the flagellar rotation, resulting in a remarkable suppression of the migration distance. Nevertheless, the S. Typhimurium cells retained positive chemotaxis toward the yolk in the presence of the albumens, suggesting that motility facilitates the growth of S. Typhimurium and survival in eggs.
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