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Infect Genet Evol. 2013 Mar;14:200-13. doi: 10.1016/j.meegid.2012.12.010. Epub 2012 Dec 29.

Comparative characterization of the virulence gene clusters (lipooligosaccharide [LOS] and capsular polysaccharide [CPS]) for Campylobacter coli, Campylobacter jejuni subsp. jejuni and related Campylobacter species.

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Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.

Erratum in

  • Infect Genet Evol. 2014 Jan;21:506-7.


Campylobacter jejuni subsp. jejuni and Campylobacter coli are leading causes of gastroenteritis, with virulence linked to cell surface carbohydrate diversity. Although the associated gene clusters are well studied for C. jejuni subsp. jejuni, C. coli has been largely neglected. Here we provide comparative analysis of the lipooligosaccharide (LOS) and capsular polysaccharide (CPS) gene clusters, using genome and cluster sequence data for 36 C. coli strains, 67 C. jejuni subsp. jejuni strains and ten additional Campylobacter species. Similar to C. jejuni subsp. jejuni, C. coli showed high LOS/CPS gene diversity, with each cluster delineated into eight gene content classes. This diversity was predominantly due to extensive gene gain/loss, with the lateral transfer of genes likely occurring both within and between species and also between the LOS and CPS. Additional mechanisms responsible for LOS/CPS diversity included phase-variable homopolymeric repeats, gene duplication/inactivation, and possibly host environment selection pressure. Analyses also showed that (i) strains of C. coli and Campylobacter upsaliensis possessed genes homologous to the sialic acid genes implicated in the neurological disorder Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), and (ii) C. coli LOS classes were differentiated between bovine and poultry hosts, potentially aiding post infection source tracking.

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