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Microbiology. 2009 Jan;155(Pt 1):80-94. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.021790-0.

Metabolite and transcriptome analysis of Campylobacter jejuni in vitro growth reveals a stationary-phase physiological switch.

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Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ES, UK.


Campylobacter jejuni is a prevalent cause of food-borne diarrhoeal illness in humans. Understanding of the physiological and metabolic capabilities of the organism is limited. We report a detailed analysis of the C. jejuni growth cycle in batch culture. Combined transcriptomic, phenotypic and metabolic analysis demonstrates a highly dynamic 'stationary phase', characterized by a peak in motility, numerous gene expression changes and substrate switching, despite transcript changes that indicate a metabolic downshift upon the onset of stationary phase. Video tracking of bacterial motility identifies peak activity during stationary phase. Amino acid analysis of culture supernatants shows a preferential order of amino acid utilization. Proton NMR (1H-NMR) highlights an acetate switch mechanism whereby bacteria change from acetate excretion to acetate uptake, most probably in response to depletion of other substrates. Acetate production requires pta (Cj0688) and ackA (Cj0689), although the acs homologue (Cj1537c) is not required. Insertion mutants in Cj0688 and Cj0689 maintain viability less well during the stationary and decline phases of the growth cycle than wild-type C. jejuni, suggesting that these genes, and the acetate pathway, are important for survival.

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