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J Clin Microbiol. 1997 Oct;35(10):2568-72.

PCR detection, identification to species level, and fingerprinting of Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli direct from diarrheic samples.

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  • 1Virus Reference Division, Central Public Health Laboratory, London, United Kingdom.


Three sets of primers were designed for PCR detection and differentiation of Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli. The first PCR assay was designed to coidentify C. jejuni and C. coli based on their 16S rRNA gene sequences. The second PCR assay, based on the hippuricase gene sequence, identified all tested reference strains of C. jejuni and also strains of that species which lack detectable hippuricase activity. The third PCR assay, based on the sequence of a cloned (putative) aspartokinase gene and the downstream open reading frame, identified all tested reference strains of C. coli. The assays will find immediate application in the rapid identification to species level of isolates. The assays combine with a protocol for purification of total DNA from fecal samples to allow reproducible PCR identification of campylobacters directly from stools. Of 20 clinical samples from which campylobacters had been cultured, we detected C. jejuni in 17, C. coli in 2, and coinfection of C. jejuni and Campylobacter hyointestinalis in 1. These results were concordant with culture and phenotypic identification to species level. Strain typing by PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism of the flagellin (flaA) gene detected identical flaA types in fecal DNA and the corresponding campylobacter isolate. Twenty-five Campylobacter-negative stool samples gave no reaction with the PCR assays. These PCR assays can rapidly define the occurrence, species incidence, and flaA genotypes of enteropathogenic campylobacters.

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