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J Bacteriol. 2011 Aug;193(16):4238-49. doi: 10.1128/JB.05189-11. Epub 2011 Jun 3.

The Campylobacter jejuni transcriptional regulator Cj1556 plays a role in the oxidative and aerobic stress response and is important for bacterial survival in vivo.

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  • 1Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London, WC1E 7HT, United Kingdom.


Campylobacter jejuni is the leading bacterial cause of human gastroenteritis worldwide. Despite stringent microaerobic growth requirements, C. jejuni is ubiquitous in the aerobic environment and so must possess regulatory systems to sense and adapt to external stimuli, such as oxidative and aerobic (O(2)) stress. Reannotation of the C. jejuni NCTC11168 genome sequence identified Cj1556 (originally annotated as a hypothetical protein) as a MarR family transcriptional regulator, and further analysis indicated a potential role in regulating the oxidative stress response. A C. jejuni 11168H Cj1556 mutant exhibited increased sensitivity to oxidative and aerobic stress, decreased ability for intracellular survival in Caco-2 human intestinal epithelial cells and J774A.1 mouse macrophages, and a reduction in virulence in the Galleria mellonella infection model. Microarray analysis of gene expression changes in the Cj1556 mutant indicated negative autoregulation of Cj1556 expression and downregulation of genes associated with oxidative and aerobic stress responses, such as katA, perR, and hspR. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays confirmed the binding of recombinant Cj1556 to the promoter region upstream of the Cj1556 gene. cprS, which encodes a sensor kinase involved in regulation of biofilm formation, was also upregulated in the Cj1556 mutant, and subsequent studies showed that the mutant had a reduced ability to form biofilms. This study identified a novel C. jejuni transcriptional regulator, Cj1556, that is involved in oxidative and aerobic stress responses and is important for the survival of C. jejuni in the natural environment and in vivo.

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