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Funct Integr Genomics. 2011 Jun;11(2):241-57. doi: 10.1007/s10142-011-0214-7. Epub 2011 Feb 23.

Identification of essential genes in C. jejuni genome highlights hyper-variable plasticity regions.

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  • 1Ottawa Institute of Systems Biology, Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, 451 Smyth Road, Ottawa, ON, K1H 8M5, Canada.


A microarray transposon-based tracking approach was used to identify Campylobacter jejuni genes which are required for cell growth at 37°C, under a microaerophilic atmosphere and on a rich Mueller-Hinton medium. A transposon-based mutant library, comprised of 7,201 individual mutants was constructed, representing 4.48× coverage of the genome. An analysis of genes lacking a transposon insertion revealed 195 essential gene candidates. The function of these genes represent many of the expected core functions of the cell, such as energy metabolism, macromolecule and cofactor biosynthesis, cell structural proteins as well as basic cell processes. Forty-nine hypothetical proteins were also identified, further underlining the importance of currently unknown proteins and pathways within C. jejuni. Unlike other bacteria, the essential genes were not uniformly distributed along the chromosome with three main regions lacking essential genes. These particular regions corresponded to known hyper-variable plasticity regions of C. jejuni genome indicating, as expected, that these regions are dispensable in any given C. jejuni strain. Overall, this work identified dispensable and essential genes in C. jejuni that will ultimately lead to a better understanding of Campylobacter physiology.

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