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Gut Pathog. 2011 Sep 22;3:13. doi: 10.1186/1757-4749-3-13.

HtrA chaperone activity contributes to host cell binding in Campylobacter jejuni.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, University Copenhagen, Stigbøjlen 4, DK-1870 Frederiksberg C, Denmark.



Acute gastroenteritis caused by the food-borne pathogen Campylobacter jejuni is associated with attachment of bacteria to the intestinal epithelium and subsequent invasion of epithelial cells. In C. jejuni, the periplasmic protein HtrA is required for efficient binding to epithelial cells. HtrA has both protease and chaperone activity, and is important for virulence of several bacterial pathogens.


The aim of this study was to determine the role of the dual activities of HtrA in host cell interaction of C. jejuni by comparing an htrA mutant lacking protease activity, but retaining chaperone activity, with a ΔhtrA mutant and the wild type strain. Binding of C. jejuni to both epithelial cells and macrophages was facilitated mainly by HtrA chaperone activity that may be involved in folding of outer membrane adhesins. In contrast, HtrA protease activity played only a minor role in interaction with host cells.


We show that HtrA protease and chaperone activities contribute differently to C. jejuni's interaction with mammalian host cells, with the chaperone activity playing the major role in host cell binding.

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