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PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e40409. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0040409. Epub 2012 Aug 1.

Avian resistance to Campylobacter jejuni colonization is associated with an intestinal immunogene expression signature identified by mRNA sequencing.

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1
Smurfit Institute of Genetics, University of Dublin, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. saconnel@tcd.ie

Abstract

Campylobacter jejuni is the most common cause of human bacterial gastroenteritis and is associated with several post-infectious manifestations, including onset of the autoimmune neuropathy Guillain-Barré syndrome, causing significant morbidity and mortality. Poorly-cooked chicken meat is the most frequent source of infection as C. jejuni colonizes the avian intestine in a commensal relationship. However, not all chickens are equally colonized and resistance seems to be genetically determined. We hypothesize that differences in immune response may contribute to variation in colonization levels between susceptible and resistant birds. Using high-throughput sequencing in an avian infection model, we investigate gene expression associated with resistance or susceptibility to colonization of the gastrointestinal tract with C. jejuni and find that gut related immune mechanisms are critical for regulating colonization. Amongst a single population of 300 4-week old chickens, there was clear segregation in levels of C. jejuni colonization 48 hours post-exposure. RNAseq analysis of caecal tissue from 14 C. jejuni-susceptible and 14 C. jejuni-resistant birds generated over 363 million short mRNA sequences which were investigated to identify 219 differentially expressed genes. Significantly higher expression of genes involved in the innate immune response, cytokine signaling, B cell and T cell activation and immunoglobulin production, as well as the renin-angiotensin system was observed in resistant birds, suggesting an early active immune response to C. jejuni. Lower expression of these genes in colonized birds suggests suppression or inhibition of a clearing immune response thus facilitating commensal colonization and generating vectors for zoonotic transmission. This study describes biological processes regulating C. jejuni colonization of the avian intestine and gives insight into the differential immune mechanisms incited in response to commensal bacteria in general within vertebrate populations. The results reported here illustrate how an exaggerated immune response may be elicited in a subset of the population, which alters host-microbe interactions and inhibits the commensal state, therefore having wider relevance with regard to inflammatory and autoimmune disease.

PMID:
22870198
PMCID:
PMC3411578
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0040409
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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