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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2009 Jul;75(13):4277-88. doi: 10.1128/AEM.02269-08. Epub 2009 May 1.

Correlation between genotypic diversity, lipooligosaccharide gene locus class variation, and caco-2 cell invasion potential of Campylobacter jejuni isolates from chicken meat and humans: contribution to virulotyping.

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Department of Veterinary Public Health and Food Safety, Ghent University, Merelbeke, Belgium.


Significant interest in studying the lipooligosaccharide (LOS) of Campylobacter jejuni has stemmed from its potential role in postinfection paralytic disorders. In this study we present the results of PCR screening of five LOS locus classes (A, B, C, D, and E) for a collection of 116 C. jejuni isolates from chicken meat (n = 76) and sporadic human cases of diarrhea (n = 40). We correlated LOS classes with clonal complexes (CC) assigned by multilocus sequence typing (MLST). Finally, we evaluated the invasion potential of a panel of 52 of these C. jejuni isolates for Caco-2 cells. PCR screening showed that 87.1% (101/116) of isolates could be assigned to LOS class A, B, C, D, or E. Concordance between LOS classes and certain MLST CC was revealed. The majority (85.7% [24/28]) of C. jejuni isolates grouped in CC-21 were shown to express LOS locus class C. The invasion potential of C. jejuni isolates possessing sialylated LOS (n = 29; classes A, B, and C) for Caco-2 cells was significantly higher (P < 0.0001) than that of C. jejuni isolates with nonsialylated LOS (n = 23; classes D and E). There was no significant difference in invasiveness between chicken meat and human isolates. However, C. jejuni isolates assigned to CC-206 (correlated with LOS class B) or CC-21 (correlated with LOS class C) showed statistically significantly higher levels of invasion than isolates from other CC. Correlation between LOS classes and CC was further confirmed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. The present study reveals a correlation between genotypic diversity and LOS locus classes of C. jejuni. We showed that simple PCR screening for C. jejuni LOS classes could reliably predict certain MLST CC and add to the interpretation of molecular-typing results. Our study corroborates that sialylation of LOS is advantageous for C. jejuni fitness and virulence in different hosts. The modulation of cell surface carbohydrate structure could enhance the ability of C. jejuni to adapt to or survive in a host.

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