• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of iaiPermissionsJournals.ASM.orgJournalIAI ArticleJournal InfoAuthorsReviewers
Infect Immun. Oct 1987; 55(10): 2526–2530.
PMCID: PMC260740

Production of a unique cytotoxin by Campylobacter jejuni.


Campylobacter jejuni is an important diarrheal pathogen worldwide; the mechanisms by which it causes disease remain unclear. Because of its association with inflammatory diarrhea, we postulated that C. jejuni might produce a cytotoxin similar to that produced by Shigella sp., enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157, or Clostridium difficile. Filtrates of 12 polymyxin-treated isolates of C. jejuni were placed on HeLa cells (sensitive to Shiga toxin cytotoxicity) and Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. Of 12 isolates of C. jejuni tested, 5 killed 50% of the cells at greater than or equal to 1:4 dilutions of filtered suspensions of 10(9) bacteria per ml; killing was similar in HeLa and CHO cells (the CHO cells being insensitive to Shiga cytotoxin). One isolate produced a titer of 1:32 to 1:128. The relative potency in HeLa cells was comparable to that of E. coli strains that produce intermediate amounts of Shiga-like toxin. The other seven strains showed no cytotoxic effect, nor did the control diluents, polymyxin B, or supernatants of C. jejuni not treated with polymyxin B. Sonication also released active cytotoxin, but slightly less well than did polymyxin. The cytotoxic effect was dose dependent. Concentration of the C. jejuni in suspension by 10-fold before treatment with polymyxin B resulted in a 10-fold increase in the 50% cytotoxic dose. The cytotoxin effect was not neutralized by Shiga toxin immune serum against either Shiga-like toxin I or II or by anti-Clostridium difficile antiserum. The C jejuni cytotoxin was partially labile to trypsin (0.25%) and to heating to greater than or equal to 60 degrees C. Cytotoxicity was retained in Scientific Products dialysis tubing D1615-1 (Mr cutoff, 12,000 to 14,000). Some isolates of C. jejuni release a substance lethal to HeLa or CHO cells in vitro that is distinct from Shiga-like or Clostridium difficile toxin. This cytotoxin may contribute to the colonic mucosal invasive process that characterizes C. jejuni enteritis.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (1016K), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • BERNHEIMER AW, SCHWARTZ LL. Isolation and composition of staphylococcal alpha toxin. J Gen Microbiol. 1963 Mar;30:455–468. [PubMed]
  • Blaser MJ, Berkowitz ID, LaForce FM, Cravens J, Reller LB, Wang WL. Campylobacter enteritis: clinical and epidemiologic features. Ann Intern Med. 1979 Aug;91(2):179–185. [PubMed]
  • Blaser MJ, Glass RI, Huq MI, Stoll B, Kibriya GM, Alim AR. Isolation of Campylobacter fetus subsp. jejuni from Bangladeshi children. J Clin Microbiol. 1980 Dec;12(6):744–747. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Blaser MJ, Reller LB. Campylobacter enteritis. N Engl J Med. 1981 Dec 10;305(24):1444–1452. [PubMed]
  • Blaser MJ, Wells JG, Feldman RA, Pollard RA, Allen JR. Campylobacter enteritis in the United States. A multicenter study. Ann Intern Med. 1983 Mar;98(3):360–365. [PubMed]
  • Bokkenheuser V. Vibrio fetus infection in man. I. Ten new cases and some epidemiologic observations. Am J Epidemiol. 1970 Apr;91(4):400–409. [PubMed]
  • Bokkenheuser VD, Richardson NJ, Bryner JH, Roux DJ, Schutte AB, Koornhof HJ, Freiman I, Hartman E. Detection of enteric campylobacteriosis in children. J Clin Microbiol. 1979 Feb;9(2):227–232. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Butzler JP, Skirrow MB. Campylobacter enteritis. Clin Gastroenterol. 1979 Sep;8(3):737–765. [PubMed]
  • Chamovitz BN, Hartstein AI, Alexander SR, Terry AB, Short P, Katon R. Campylobacter jejuni-associated hemolytic-uremic syndrome in a mother and daughter. Pediatrics. 1983 Feb;71(2):253–256. [PubMed]
  • Dean AG, Ching YC, Williams RG, Harden LB. Test for Escherichia coli enterotoxin using infant mice: application in a study of diarrhea in children in Honolulu. J Infect Dis. 1972 Apr;125(4):407–411. [PubMed]
  • Dekeyser P, Gossuin-Detrain M, Butzler JP, Sternon J. Acute enteritis due to related vibrio: first positive stool cultures. J Infect Dis. 1972 Apr;125(4):390–392. [PubMed]
  • Fernández H, Neto UF, Fernandes F, de Almeida Pedra M, Trabulsi LR. Culture supernatants of Campylobacter jejuni induce a secretory response in jejunal segments of adult rats. Infect Immun. 1983 Apr;40(1):429–431. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Glass RI, Stoll BJ, Huq MI, Struelens MJ, Blaser M, Kibriya AK. Epidemiologic and clinical features of endemic Campylobacter jejuni infection in Bangladesh. J Infect Dis. 1983 Aug;148(2):292–296. [PubMed]
  • Guerrant RL, Lahita RG, Winn WC, Jr, Roberts RB. Campylobacteriosis in man: pathogenic mechanisms and review of 91 bloodstream infections. Am J Med. 1978 Oct;65(4):584–592. [PubMed]
  • Johnson WM, Lior H. Toxins produced by Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli. Lancet. 1984 Jan 28;1(8370):229–230. [PubMed]
  • KING EO. Human infections with Vibrio fetus and a closely related vibrio. J Infect Dis. 1957 Sep-Oct;101(2):119–128. [PubMed]
  • Klipstein FA, Engert RF. Properties of crude Campylobacter jejuni heat-labile enterotoxin. Infect Immun. 1984 Aug;45(2):314–319. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Klipstein FA, Engert RF. Immunological relationship of the B subunits of Campylobacter jejuni and Escherichia coli heat-labile enterotoxins. Infect Immun. 1985 Jun;48(3):629–633. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Klipstein FA, Engert RF, Short HB. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays for virulence properties of Campylobacter jejuni clinical isolates. J Clin Microbiol. 1986 Jun;23(6):1039–1043. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Klipstein FA, Engert RF, Short H, Schenk EA. Pathogenic properties of Campylobacter jejuni: assay and correlation with clinical manifestations. Infect Immun. 1985 Oct;50(1):43–49. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Lior H. New, extended biotyping scheme for Campylobacter jejuni, Campylobacter coli, and "Campylobacter laridis". J Clin Microbiol. 1984 Oct;20(4):636–640. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Lior H, Woodward DL, Edgar JA, Laroche LJ, Gill P. Serotyping of Campylobacter jejuni by slide agglutination based on heat-labile antigenic factors. J Clin Microbiol. 1982 May;15(5):761–768. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • McCardell BA, Madden JM, Lee EC. Production of cholera-like toxin by Campylobacter jejuni/coli. Lancet. 1984 Feb 25;1(8374):448–449. [PubMed]
  • McCardell BA, Madden JM, Shah DB. Isolation and characterization of a cytolysin produced by Vibrio cholerae serogroup non-O1. Can J Microbiol. 1985 Aug;31(8):711–720. [PubMed]
  • McCardell BA, Madden JM, Stanfield JT. Production of cytotoxins by Campylobacter. Lancet. 1986 May 3;1(8488):1031–1031. [PubMed]
  • O'Brien AD, Lively TA, Chang TW, Gorbach SL. Purification of Shigella dysenteriae 1 (Shiga)-like toxin from Escherichia coli O157:H7 strain associated with haemorrhagic colitis. Lancet. 1983 Sep 3;2(8349):573–573. [PubMed]
  • Olsvik O, Wachsmuth K, Morris G, Feeley JC. Genetic probing of Campylobacter jejuni for cholera toxin and Escherichia coli heat-labile enterotoxin. Lancet. 1984 Feb 25;1(8374):449–449. [PubMed]
  • Pennie RA, Pearson RD, Barrett LJ, Lior H, Guerrant RL. Susceptibility of Campylobacter jejuni to strain-specific bactericidal activity in sera of infected patients. Infect Immun. 1986 Jun;52(3):702–706. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Pennie RA, Zunino JN, Rose CE, Jr, Guerrant RL. Economical, simple method for production of the gaseous environment required for cultivation of Campylobacter jejuni. J Clin Microbiol. 1984 Sep;20(3):320–322. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Riley LW, Finch MJ. Results of the first year of national surveillance of Campylobacter infections in the United States. J Infect Dis. 1985 May;151(5):956–959. [PubMed]
  • Ruiz-Palacios GM, Escamilla E, Torres N. Experimental Campylobacter diarrhea in chickens. Infect Immun. 1981 Oct;34(1):250–255. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Ruiz-Palacios GM, López-Vidal Y, Torres J, Torres N. Serum antibodies to heat-labile enterotoxin of Campylobacter jejuni. J Infect Dis. 1985 Aug;152(2):413–416. [PubMed]
  • Ruiz-Palacios GM, Torres J, Torres NI, Escamilla E, Ruiz-Palacios BR, Tamayo J. Cholera-like enterotoxin produced by Campylobacter jejuni. Characterisation and clinical significance. Lancet. 1983 Jul 30;2(8344):250–253. [PubMed]
  • Skirrow MB. Campylobacter enteritis: a "new" disease. Br Med J. 1977 Jul 2;2(6078):9–11. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Smith HR, Day NP, Scotland SM, Gross RJ, Rowe B. Phage-determined production of vero cytotoxin in strains of Escherichia coli serogroup O157. Lancet. 1984 Jun 2;1(8388):1242–1243. [PubMed]
  • Stoll BJ, Glass RI, Banu H, Huq MI, Khan MU, Ahmed M. Value of stool examination in patients with diarrhoea. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983 Jun 25;286(6383):2037–2040. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Strockbine NA, Marques LR, Newland JW, Smith HW, Holmes RK, O'Brien AD. Two toxin-converting phages from Escherichia coli O157:H7 strain 933 encode antigenically distinct toxins with similar biologic activities. Infect Immun. 1986 Jul;53(1):135–140. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Thorson SM, Lohr JA, Dudley S, Guerrant RL. Value of methylene blue examination, dark-field microscopy, and carbol-fuchsin Gram stain in the detection of Campylobacter enteritis. J Pediatr. 1985 Jun;106(6):941–943. [PubMed]
  • Walker RI, Caldwell MB, Lee EC, Guerry P, Trust TJ, Ruiz-Palacios GM. Pathophysiology of Campylobacter enteritis. Microbiol Rev. 1986 Mar;50(1):81–94. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Yeen WP, Puthucheary SD, Pang T. Demonstration of a cytotoxin from Campylobacter jejuni. J Clin Pathol. 1983 Nov;36(11):1237–1240. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from Infection and Immunity are provided here courtesy of American Society for Microbiology (ASM)


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...