Cronobacter sakazakii (C. sakazakii) is a notorious pathogen responsible for infections in infants and newborns, often transmitted through contaminated infant formula. Despite the use of traditional pasteurization methods, which can reduce microbial contamination, there remains a significant risk of pathogenic C. sakazakii surviving due to its exceptional stress tolerance. In our study, we employed a comparative proteomic approach by comparing wild-type strains with gene knockout strains to identify the essential genes crucial for the successful survival of C. sakazakii during desiccation. Our investigation revealed the significance of envZ-ompR, recA, and flhD gene cassettes in contributing to desiccation tolerance in C. sakazakii. Furthermore, through our comparative proteomic profiling, we identified the maltodextrin-binding protein encoded by ESA_03421 as a potential factor influencing dry tolerance. This protein is regulated by EnvZ-OmpR, RecA, and FlhD. Notably, the knockout of ESA_03421 resulted in a 150% greater reduction...

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