ABSTRACT: Campylobacter species are a leading cause of bacterial foodborne illness worldwide. Despite the global efforts to curb them, Campylobacter infections have increased continuously in both developed and developing countries. The development of effective strategies to control the infection by this pathogen is warranted. The essential genes of bacteria are the most prominent targets for this purpose. In this study, we used transposon sequencing (Tn-seq) of a genome-saturating library of Tn5 insertion mutants to define the essential genome of C. jejuni at a high resolution.We constructed a Tn5 mutant library of unprecedented complexity in C. jejuni NCTC 11168 with 95,929 unique insertions throughout the genome and used the genomic DNA of the library for the reconstruction of Tn5 libraries in the same (C. jejuni NCTC 11168) and different strain background (C. jejuni 81-176) through natural transformation. We identified 166 essential protein-coding genes and 20 essential transfer RNAs (tRNA) in C. jejuni NCTC 11168 which were intolerant to Tn5 insertions during in vitro growth. The reconstructed C. jejuni 81-176 library had 384 protein coding genes with no Tn5 insertions. Essential genes in both strain backgrounds were highly enriched in the cluster of orthologous group (COG) categories of 'Translation, ribosomal structure and biogenesis (J)', 'Energy production and conversion (C)', and 'Coenzyme transport and metabolism (H)'.Comparative analysis among this and previous studies identified 50 core essential genes of C. jejuni, which can be further investigated for the development of novel strategies to control the spread of this notorious foodborne bacterial pathogen.
Project description:During the last years, Campylobacter has emerged as the leading cause of bacterial foodborne infections in developed countries. Described as an obligate microaerophile, Campylobacter has puzzled scientists by surviving a wide range of environmental oxidative stresses on foods farm to retail, and thereafter intestinal transit and oxidative damage from macrophages to cause human infection. In this study, confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) was used to explore the biofilm development of two well-described Campylobacter jejuni strains (NCTC 11168 and 81-176) prior to or during cultivation under oxygen-enriched conditions. Quantitative and qualitative appraisal indicated that C. jejuni formed finger-like biofilm structures with an open ultrastructure for 81-176 and a multilayer-like structure for NCTC 11168 under microaerobic conditions (MAC). The presence of motile cells within the biofilm confirmed the maturation of the C. jejuni 81-176 biofilm. Acclimation of cells to oxygen-enriched conditions led to significant enhancement of biofilm formation during the early stages of the process. Exposure to these conditions during biofilm cultivation induced an even greater biofilm development for both strains, indicating that oxygen demand for biofilm formation is higher than for planktonic growth counterparts. Overexpression of cosR in the poorer biofilm-forming strain, NCTC 11168, enhanced biofilm development dramatically by promoting an open ultrastructure similar to that observed for 81-176. Consequently, the regulator CosR is likely to be a key protein in the maturation of C. jejuni biofilm, although it is not linked to oxygen stimulation. These unexpected data advocate challenging studies by reconsidering the paradigm of fastidious requirements for C. jejuni growth when various subpopulations (from quiescent to motile cells) coexist in biofilms. These findings constitute a clear example of a survival strategy used by this emerging human pathogen.
Project description:Campylobacter jejuni is a major foodborne pathogen that causes severe gastroenteritis in humans characterized by fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. In the human gut, Campylobacter adheres and invades the intestinal epithelium followed by cytolethal distending toxin mediated cell death, and enteritis. Reducing the attachment and invasion of Campylobacter to intestinal epithelium and expression of its virulence factors such as motility and cytolethal distending toxin (CDT) production could potentially reduce infection in humans. This study investigated the efficacy of sub-inhibitory concentrations (SICs, concentration not inhibiting bacterial growth) of three GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status phytochemicals namely trans-cinnamaldehyde (TC; 0.005, 0.01%), carvacrol (CR; 0.001, 0.002%), and eugenol (EG; 0.005, 0.01%) in reducing the attachment, invasion, and translocation of C. jejuni on human intestinal epithelial cells (Caco-2). Additionally, the effect of these phytochemicals on Campylobacter motility and CDT production was studied using standard bioassays and gene expression analysis. All experiments had duplicate samples and were replicated three times on three strains (wild type S-8, NCTC 11168, 81-176) of C. jejuni. Data were analyzed using ANOVA with GraphPad ver. 6. Differences between the means were considered significantly different at P < 0.05. The majority of phytochemical treatments reduced C. jejuni adhesion, invasion, and translocation of Caco-2 cells (P < 0.05). In addition, the phytochemicals reduced pathogen motility and production of CDT in S-8 and NCTC 11168 (P < 0.05). Real-time quantitative PCR revealed that phytochemicals reduced the transcription of select C. jejuni genes critical for infection in humans (P < 0.05). Results suggest that TC, CR, and EG could potentially be used to control C. jejuni infection in humans.
Project description:Since the publication of the complete genomic sequence of Campylobacter jejuni NCTC 11168 in February 2000, evidence has been compiling that suggests C. jejuni strains exhibit high genomic diversity. In order to investigate this diversity, the unique genomic DNA sequences from a nonsequenced Campylobacter strain, C. jejuni 81-176, were identified by comparison with C. jejuni NCTC 11168 by using a shotgun DNA microarray approach. Up to 63 kb of new chromosomal DNA sequences unique to this pathogen were obtained. Eighty-six open reading frames were identified by the presence of uninterrupted coding regions encoding a minimum of 40 amino acids. In addition, this study shows that the whole-plasmid shotgun microarray approach is effective and provides a comprehensive coverage of DNA regions that differ between two closely related genomes. The two plasmids harbored by this Campylobacter strain, pTet and pVir, were also sequenced, with coverages of 2.5- and 2.9-fold, respectively, representing 72 and 92% of their complete nucleotide sequences. The unique chromosomal genes encode proteins involved in capsule and lipooligosaccharide biosynthesis, restriction and modification systems, and respiratory metabolism. Several of these unique genes are likely associated with C. jejuni 81-176 fitness and virulence. Interestingly, the comparison of C. jejuni 81-176 unique genes with those of C. jejuni ATCC 43431 revealed a single gene which encodes a probable TraG-like protein. The product of this gene might be associated with the mechanism of C. jejuni invasion into epithelial cells. In conclusion, this study extends the repertoire of C. jejuni genes and thus will permit the construction of a composite and more comprehensive microarray of C. jejuni.
Project description:The fastidious nature of the foodborne bacterial pathogen Campylobacter jejuni contrasts with its ability to survive in the food chain. The formation of biofilms, or the integration into existing biofilms by C. jejuni, is thought to contribute to food chain survival. As extracellular DNA (eDNA) has previously been proposed to play a role in C. jejuni biofilms, we have investigated the role of extracellular DNases (eDNases) produced by C. jejuni in biofilm formation. A search of 2791 C. jejuni genomes highlighted that almost half of C. jejuni genomes contains at least one eDNase gene, but only a minority of isolates contains two or three of these eDNase genes, such as C. jejuni strain RM1221 which contains the cje0256, cje0566 and cje1441 eDNase genes. Strain RM1221 did not form biofilms, whereas the eDNase-negative strains NCTC 11168 and 81116 did. Incubation of pre-formed biofilms of NCTC 11168 with live C. jejuni RM1221 or with spent medium from a RM1221 culture resulted in removal of the biofilm. Inactivation of the cje1441 eDNase gene in strain RM1221 restored biofilm formation, and made the mutant unable to degrade biofilms of strain NCTC 11168. Finally, C. jejuni strain RM1221 was able to degrade genomic DNA from C. jejuni NCTC 11168, 81116 and RM1221, whereas strain NCTC 11168 and the RM1221 cje1441 mutant were unable to do so. This was mirrored by an absence of eDNA in overnight cultures of C. jejuni RM1221. This suggests that the activity of eDNases in C. jejuni affects biofilm formation and is not conducive to a biofilm lifestyle. These eDNases do however have a potential role in controlling biofilm formation by C. jejuni strains in food chain relevant environments.
Project description:Analysis of the complete flagellin glycosylation locus of Campylobacter jejuni strain 81-176 revealed a less complex genomic organization than the corresponding region in the genome strain, C. jejuni NCTC 11168. Twenty-four of the 45 genes found between Cj1293 and Cj1337 in NCTC 11168 are missing in 81-176. Mutation of six new genes, in addition to three previously reported, resulted in a non-motile phenotype, consistent with a role in synthesis of pseudaminic acid (PseAc) or transfer of PseAc to flagellin. Mutation of Cj1316c or pseA had been shown to result in loss of the acetamidino form of pseudaminic acid (PseAm). Mutation of a second gene also resulted in loss of PseAm, as well as a minor modification that appears to be PseAm extended with N-acetyl-glutamic acid. Previously described mutants in C. jejuni 81-176 and Campylobacter coli VC167 that produced flagella lacking PseAm or PseAc failed to autoagglutinate. This suggests that interactions between modifications on adjacent flagella filaments are required for autoagglutination. Mutants (81-176) defective in autoagglutination showed a modest reduction in adherence and invasion of INT407 cells. However, there was a qualitative difference in binding patterns to INT407 cells using GFP-labelled 81-176 and mutants lacking PseAm. A mutant lacking PseAm was attenuated in the ferret diarrhoeal disease model.
Project description:Conjugation is an important mechanism for horizontal gene transfer in Campylobacter jejuni, the leading cause of human bacterial gastroenteritis in developed countries. However, to date, the factors that significantly influence conjugation efficiency in Campylobacter spp. are still largely unknown. Given that multiple recombinant loci could independently occur within one recipient cell during natural transformation, the genetic materials from a high-frequency conjugation (HFC) C. jejuni strain may be cotransformed with a selection marker into a low-frequency conjugation (LFC) recipient strain, creating new HFC transformants suitable for the identification of conjugation factors using a comparative genomics approach. To test this, an erythromycin resistance selection marker was created in an HFC C. jejuni strain; subsequently, the DNA of this strain was naturally transformed into NCTC 11168, an LFC C. jejuni strain, leading to the isolation of NCTC 11168-derived HFC transformants. Whole-genome sequencing analysis and subsequent site-directed mutagenesis identified Cj1051c, a putative restriction-modification enzyme (aka CjeI) that could drastically reduce the conjugation efficiency of NCTC 11168 (>5,000-fold). Chromosomal complementation of three diverse HFC C. jejuni strains with CjeI also led to a dramatic reduction in conjugation efficiency (?1,000-fold). The purified recombinant CjeI could effectively digest the Escherichia coli-derived shuttle vector pRY107. The endonuclease activity of CjeI was abolished upon short heat shock treatment at 50°C, which is consistent with our previous observation that heat shock enhanced conjugation efficiency in C. jejuni Together, in this study, we successfully developed and utilized a unique cotransformation strategy to identify a restriction-modification enzyme that significantly influences conjugation efficiency in C. jejuni IMPORTANCE Conjugation is an important horizontal gene transfer mechanism contributing to the evolution of bacterial pathogenesis and antimicrobial resistance. Campylobacter jejuni, the leading foodborne bacterial organism, displays significant strain diversity due to horizontal gene transfer; however, the molecular components influencing conjugation efficiency in C. jejuni are still largely unknown. In this study, we developed a cotransformation strategy for comparative genomics analysis and successfully identified a restriction-modification enzyme that significantly influences conjugation efficiency in C. jejuni The new cotransformation strategy developed in this study is also expected to be broadly applied in other naturally competent bacteria for functional comparative genomics research.
Project description:Campylobacter jejuni CG8486, which belongs to the HS4 complex, was isolated from a patient with inflammatory diarrhea in Thailand. This strain caused a diarrheal disease in ferrets comparable to that caused by C. jejuni strain 81-176, but it was much less invasive for epithelial cells in vitro than 81-176. Complete genome sequencing of CG8486 revealed a 1.65-Mb genome that was very similar to the other two published genomes of clinical isolates of C. jejuni, the genomes of 81-176 and NCTC 11168, with a limited number of CG8486-specific genes mapping outside the hypervariable carbohydrate biosynthesis loci. These data suggest that the genes required for induction of inflammatory diarrhea are among the genes shared by CG8486 and 81-176 but that either major changes in the carbohydrate loci and/or more subtle changes in other genes may modulate virulence.
Project description:We have constructed plasmids to be used for in vitro signature-tagged mutagenesis (STM) of Campylobacter jejuni and used these to generate STM libraries in three different strains. Statistical analysis of the transposon insertion sites in the C. jejuni NCTC 11168 chromosome and the plasmids of strain 81-176 indicated that their distribution was not uniform. Visual inspection of the distribution suggested that deviation from uniformity was not due to preferential integration of the transposon into a limited number of hot spots but rather that there was a bias towards insertions around the origin. We screened pools of mutants from the STM libraries for their ability to colonize the ceca of 2-week-old chickens harboring a standardized gut flora. We observed high-frequency random loss of colonization proficient mutants. When cohoused birds were individually inoculated with different tagged mutants, random loss of colonization-proficient mutants was similarly observed, as was extensive bird-to-bird transmission of mutants. This indicates that the nature of campylobacter colonization in chickens is complex and dynamic, and we hypothesize that bottlenecks in the colonization process and between-bird transmission account for these observations.
Project description:Campylobacter jejuni GB11, a strain isolated from a patient with Guillain-Barré syndrome, has been shown to be genetically closely related to the completely sequenced strain C. jejuni NCTC 11168 by various molecular typing and serotyping methods. However, we observed that the lipooligosaccharide (LOS) biosynthesis genes strongly diverged between GB11 and NCTC 11168. We sequenced the LOS biosynthesis locus of GB11 and found that it was nearly identical to the class A LOS locus from the C. jejuni HS:19 Penner serotype strain (ATCC 43446). Analysis of the DNA sequencing data showed that a horizontal exchange event involving at least 14.26 kb had occurred in the LOS biosynthesis locus of GB11 between galE (Cj1131c in NCTC 11168) and gmhA (Cj1149 in NCTC 11168). Mass spectrometry of the GB11 LOS showed that GB11 expressed an LOS outer core that mimicked the carbohydrate portion of the gangliosides GM1a and GD1a, similar to C. jejuni ATCC 43446. The serum from the GB11-infected patient was shown to react with the LOS from both GB11 and ATCC 43446 but not with that from NCTC 11168. These data indicate that the antiganglioside response in the GB11-infected patient was raised against the structures synthesized by the acquired class A LOS locus.
Project description:Campylobacter jejuni is a frequent foodborne pathogen of humans. As C. jejuni infections commonly arise from contaminated poultry, phage treatments have been proposed to reduce the C. jejuni load on farms to prevent human infections. While a prior report documented the transcriptome of C. jejuni phages during the carrier state life cycle, transcriptomic analysis of a lytic C. jejuni phage infection has not been reported. We used RNA-sequencing to profile the infection of C. jejuni NCTC 11168 by the lytic T4-like myovirus NCTC 12673. Interestingly, we found that the most highly upregulated host genes upon infection make up an uncharacterized operon (cj0423?cj0425), which includes genes with similarity to T4 superinfection exclusion and antitoxin genes. Other significantly upregulated genes include those involved in oxidative stress defense and the Campylobactermultidrug efflux pump (CmeABC). We found that phage infectivity is altered by mutagenesis of the oxidative stress defense genes catalase (katA), alkyl-hydroxyperoxidase (ahpC), and superoxide dismutase (sodB), and by mutagenesis of the efflux pump genes cmeA and cmeB. This suggests a role for these gene products in phage infection. Together, our results shed light on the phage-host dynamics of an important foodborne pathogen during lytic infection by a T4-like phage.