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      Acid-shock of Campylobacter jejuni induces flagellar gene expression and host cell invasion

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          Abstract

          The bacterial pathogen Campylobacter jejuni is the leading cause of foodborne gastroenteritis in the developed world, with the organism being transmitted by ingestion of contaminated and undercooked poultry. Exposure to acid is an inevitable stressor for C. jejuni during gastric passage, yet the effect of low pH on C. jejuni virulence is still poorly understood. Here, we investigate the effect of acid-shock on C. jejuni viability, gene expression and host-cell invasion. C. jejuni strain NCTC 11168 survived acid exposure at pH 3.5 and above for up to 30 min without a drop in viability, and this exposure induced the expression of flagellar genes transcribed from σ 54-dependent promoters. Furthermore, acid-shock resulted in increased C. jejuni invasion of m-IC cl2 mouse small intestine crypt cells grown on transwells, but not when the cells were grown on flat-bottomed wells. This suggests that C. jejuni might be invading intestinal epithelial cells at the basolateral side, possibly after paracellular passage. We hypothesize that acid-shock prior to intestinal entry may serve as a signal that primes C. jejuni to express its virulence gene repertoire including flagellar motility genes, but this requires further study in the context of an appropriate colonization or disease model.

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          Most cited references 31

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          The genome sequence of the food-borne pathogen Campylobacter jejuni reveals hypervariable sequences.

          Campylobacter jejuni, from the delta-epsilon group of proteobacteria, is a microaerophilic, Gram-negative, flagellate, spiral bacterium-properties it shares with the related gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori. It is the leading cause of bacterial food-borne diarrhoeal disease throughout the world. In addition, infection with C. jejuni is the most frequent antecedent to a form of neuromuscular paralysis known as Guillain-Barré syndrome. Here we report the genome sequence of C. jejuni NCTC11168. C. jejuni has a circular chromosome of 1,641,481 base pairs (30.6% G+C) which is predicted to encode 1,654 proteins and 54 stable RNA species. The genome is unusual in that there are virtually no insertion sequences or phage-associated sequences and very few repeat sequences. One of the most striking findings in the genome was the presence of hypervariable sequences. These short homopolymeric runs of nucleotides were commonly found in genes encoding the biosynthesis or modification of surface structures, or in closely linked genes of unknown function. The apparently high rate of variation of these homopolymeric tracts may be important in the survival strategy of C. jejuni.
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            Campylobacter jejuni: molecular biology and pathogenesis.

            Campylobacter jejuni is a foodborne bacterial pathogen that is common in the developed world. However, we know less about its biology and pathogenicity than we do about other less prevalent pathogens. Interest in C. jejuni has increased in recent years as a result of the growing appreciation of its importance as a pathogen and the availability of new model systems and genetic and genomic technologies. C. jejuni establishes persistent, benign infections in chickens and is rapidly cleared by many strains of laboratory mouse, but causes significant inflammation and enteritis in humans. Comparing the different host responses to C. jejuni colonization should increase our understanding of this organism.
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              Novel Murine Infection Models Provide Deep Insights into the “Ménage à Trois” of Campylobacter jejuni, Microbiota and Host Innate Immunity

              Background Although Campylobacter jejuni-infections have a high prevalence worldwide and represent a significant socioeconomic burden, it is still not well understood how C. jejuni causes intestinal inflammation. Detailed investigation of C. jejuni-mediated intestinal immunopathology is hampered by the lack of appropriate vertebrate models. In particular, mice display colonization resistance against this pathogen. Methodology/Principal Findings To overcome these limitations we developed a novel C. jejuni-infection model using gnotobiotic mice in which the intestinal flora was eradicated by antibiotic treatment. These animals could then be permanently associated with a complete human (hfa) or murine (mfa) microbiota. After peroral infection C. jejuni colonized the gastrointestinal tract of gnotobiotic and hfa mice for six weeks, whereas mfa mice cleared the pathogen within two days. Strikingly, stable C. jejuni colonization was accompanied by a pro-inflammatory immune response indicated by increased numbers of T- and B-lymphocytes, regulatory T-cells, neutrophils and apoptotic cells, as well as increased concentrations of TNF-α, IL-6, and MCP-1 in the colon mucosa of hfa mice. Analysis of MyD88−/−, TRIF−/−, TLR4−/−, and TLR9−/− mice revealed that TLR4- and TLR9-signaling was essential for immunopathology following C. jejuni-infection. Interestingly, C. jejuni-mutant strains deficient in formic acid metabolism and perception induced less intestinal immunopathology compared to the parental strain infection. In summary, the murine gut flora is essential for colonization resistance against C. jejuni and can be overcome by reconstitution of gnotobiotic mice with human flora. Detection of C. jejuni-LPS and -CpG-DNA by host TLR4 and TLR9, respectively, plays a key role in immunopathology. Finally, the host immune response is tightly coupled to bacterial formic acid metabolism and invasion fitness. Conclusion/Significance We conclude that gnotobiotic and “humanized” mice represent excellent novel C. jejuni-infection and -inflammation models and provide deep insights into the immunological and molecular interplays between C. jejuni, microbiota and innate immunity in human campylobacteriosis.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                1886
                122234
                European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology
                EuJMI
                Akadémiai Kiadó, co-published with Springer Science+Business Media B.V., Formerly Kluwer Academic Publishers B.V.
                2062-509X
                2062-8633
                1 March 2012
                : 2
                : 1
                : 12-19
                Affiliations
                [ 1 ] Institute of Food Research, Norwich, UK
                [ 2 ] School of Medicine, Health Policy and Practice, University of East Anglia, Norwic, UK
                [ 3 ] Institute of Food Research, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, NR4 7UA, UK
                Author notes
                [* ] +44-1603-255250, +44-1603-507723, arnoud.vanvliet@ 123456ifr.ac.uk
                Article
                3
                10.1556/EuJMI.2.2012.1.3
                3933985
                24611116
                Categories
                Original Articles

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