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Use of Genome-Wide Expression Profiling and Mutagenesis To Study the Intestinal Lifestyle of Campylobacter jejuni

Stintzi, Alain, Marlow, Denver, Palyada, Kiran, Naikare, Hemant, Panciera, Roger, Whitworth, Lisa, Clarke, Cyril
Infection and immunity 2005 v.73 no.3 pp. 1797-1810
Campylobacter jejuni, diarrhea, gene expression regulation, genes, glycosylation, heat stress, ileum, immune response, membrane proteins, microarray technology, microorganisms, models, mutagenesis, nutrients, peptidoglycans, rabbits, transcriptome, virulence
Campylobacter jejuni is the most common bacterial cause of diarrhea worldwide. To colonize the gut and cause infection, C. jejuni must successfully compete with endogenous microbes for nutrients, resist host defenses, persist in the intestine, and ultimately infect the host. These challenges require the expression of a battery of colonization and virulence determinants. In this study, the intestinal lifestyle of C. jejuni was studied using whole-genome microarray, mutagenesis, and a rabbit ileal loop model. Genes associated with a wide range of metabolic, morphological, and pathological processes were expressed in vivo. The in vivo transcriptome of C. jejuni reflected its oxygen-limited, nutrient-poor, and hyperosmotic environment. Strikingly, the expression of several C. jejuni genes was found to be highly variable between individual rabbits. In particular, differential gene expression suggested that C. jejuni extensively remodels its envelope in vivo by differentially expressing its membrane proteins and by modifying its peptidoglycan and glycosylation composition. Furthermore, mutational analysis of seven genes, hspR, hrcA, spoT, Cj0571, Cj0178, Cj0341, and fliD, revealed an important role for the stringent and heat shock response in gut colonization. Overall, this study provides new insights on the mechanisms of gut colonization, as well as possible strategies employed by Campylobacter to resist or evade the host immune responses.