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J Med Microbiol. 2014 Mar;63(Pt 3):343-54. doi: 10.1099/jmm.0.068023-0. Epub 2014 Jan 8.

Methyl-accepting chemotaxis proteins 3 and 4 are responsible for Campylobacter jejuni chemotaxis and jejuna colonization in mice in response to sodium deoxycholate.

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Division of Basic Medical Microbiology, State Key Laboratory for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, First Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310003, PR China.


Methyl-accepting chemotaxis proteins (MCPs), also termed transducer-like proteins (Tlps), serve as sensors in bacterial chemotactic signalling, and detect attractants and promote bacterial movement towards suitable sites for colonization. Campylobacter jejuni is a leading cause of human enteritis, but the mechanisms responsible for bacterial chemotaxis and early colonization in the jejunum of hosts are poorly understood. In the present study, we identified several types of bile and sodium deoxycholate (SDC) acting as chemotactic attractants of C. jejuni strain NCTC 11168-O in vitro, in which SDC was the most efficient chemoattractant. In mice with bile duct ligation, the wild-type strain displayed a markedly attenuated ability for colonization. Blockage of Tlp3 or Tlp4 protein with antibody or disruption of the tlp3 or tlp4 gene (Δtlp3 or Δtlp4) caused a significant inhibition of SDC-induced chemotaxis and attenuation for colonization on jejunal mucosa in mice of the bacterium. Disruption of both the genes (Δtlp3/Δtlp4) resulted in the absence of bacterial chemotaxis and colonization, while the tlp-gene-complemented mutants (CΔtlp3 and CΔtlp4) reacquired these abilities. The results indicate that SDC is an effective chemoattractant for C. jejuni, and Tlp3 and Tlp4 are the SDC-specific sensor proteins responsible for the bacterial chemoattraction.

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