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Summary

Salmonella species are enterobacterial pathogens that have been exceptionally well investigated with respect to virulence mechanisms, microbial pathogenesis, genome evolution and many fundamental pathways of gene expression and metabolism. While these studies have traditionally focused on protein functions, Salmonella has also become a model organism for RNA-mediated regulation. The present review is dedicated to the non-coding RNA world of Salmonella: it covers small RNAs (sRNAs) that act as post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression, novel Salmonella cis-regulatory RNA elements that sense metabolite and metal ion concentrations (or temperature), and globally acting RNA-binding proteins such as CsrA or Hfq (inactivation of which cause drastic phenotypes and virulence defects). Owing to mosaic genome structure, some of the Salmonella sRNAs are widely conserved in bacteria whereas others are very specific to Salmonella species. Intriguingly, sRNAs of either type (CsrB/C, InvR, SgrS) facilitate cross-talk between the Salmonella core genome and its laterally acquired virulence regions. Work in Salmonella also identified physiological functions (and mechanisms thereof) of RNA that had remained unknown in Escherichia coli, and pioneered the use of high-throughput sequencing technology to identify the sRNA and mRNA targets of bacterial RNA-binding proteins.