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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2008 Mar;74(5):1367-75. doi: 10.1128/AEM.02261-07. Epub 2008 Jan 11.

Role of Campylobacter jejuni respiratory oxidases and reductases in host colonization.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695, USA.


Campylobacter jejuni is the leading cause of human food-borne bacterial gastroenteritis. The C. jejuni genome sequence predicts a branched electron transport chain capable of utilizing multiple electron acceptors. Mutants were constructed by disrupting the coding regions of the respiratory enzymes nitrate reductase (napA::Cm), nitrite reductase (nrfA::Cm), dimethyl sulfoxide, and trimethylamine N-oxide reductase (termed Cj0264::Cm) and the two terminal oxidases, a cyanide-insensitive oxidase (cydA::Cm) and cbb3-type oxidase (ccoN::Cm). Each strain was characterized for the loss of the associated enzymatic function in vitro. The strains were then inoculated into 1-week-old chicks, and the cecal contents were assayed for the presence of C. jejuni 2 weeks postinoculation. cydA::Cm and Cj0264c::Cm strains colonized as well as the wild type; napA::Cm and nrfA::Cm strains colonized at levels significantly lower than the wild type. The ccoN::Cm strain was unable to colonize the chicken; no colonies were recovered at the end of the experiment. While there appears to be a role for anaerobic respiration in host colonization, oxygen is the most important respiratory acceptor for C. jejuni in the chicken cecum.

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