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Infect Immun. 2004 Jul;72(7):3769-76.

Adaptation of Campylobacter jejuni NCTC11168 to high-level colonization of the avian gastrointestinal tract.

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Institute for Animal Health, Compton, Newbury, Berkshire RG20 7NN, United Kingdom.


The genome sequence of the human pathogen Campylobacter jejuni NCTC11168 has been determined recently, but studies on colonization and persistence in chickens have been limited due to reports that this strain is a poor colonizer. Experimental colonization and persistence studies were carried out with C. jejuni NCTC11168 by using 2-week-old Light Sussex chickens possessing an acquired natural gut flora. After inoculation, NCTC11168 initially colonized the intestine poorly. However, after 5 weeks we observed adaptation to high-level colonization, which was maintained after in vitro passage. The adapted strain exhibited greatly increased motility. A second strain, C. jejuni 11168H, which had been selected under in vitro conditions for increased motility (A. V. Karlyshev, D. Linton, N. A. Gregson, and B. W. Wren, Microbiology 148:473-480, 2002), also showed high-level intestinal colonization. The levels of colonization were equivalent to those of six other strains, assessed under the same conditions. There were four mutations in C. jejuni 11168H that reduced colonization; maf5, flaA (motility and flagellation), and kpsM (capsule deficiency) eliminated colonization, whereas pglH (general glycosylation system deficient) reduced but did not eliminate colonization. This study showed that there was colonization of the avian intestinal tract by a Campylobacter strain having a known genome sequence, and it provides a model for colonization and persistence studies with specific mutations.

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