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Gut Pathog. 2015 Jul 24;7:20. doi: 10.1186/s13099-015-0067-z. eCollection 2015.

Virulence characteristics of hcp (+) Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli isolates from retail chicken.

Author information

1
Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Food Microbiology, Newforge Lane, Belfast, BT9 5PX UK ; School of Animal Science and Biotechnology, Banat University of Animal Sciences and Veterinary Medicine-King Michael I of Romania, Calea Aradului nr. 119, Timisoara, Romania.
2
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.
3
Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Food Microbiology, Newforge Lane, Belfast, BT9 5PX UK.
4
School of Animal Science and Biotechnology, Banat University of Animal Sciences and Veterinary Medicine-King Michael I of Romania, Calea Aradului nr. 119, Timisoara, Romania.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Recently the Type VI secretion system (T6SS), which can play a significant role in bacterial survival and pathogenesis, was reported in Campylobacter spp., having the hcp gene as a key component.

METHODS:

Campylobacteriosis is associated with the consumption of infected chicken meat. Our study aimed to explore the presence of T6SS in C. jejuni (n = 59) and C. coli (n = 57) isolates, from retail raw chicken and to investigate their pathogenic potential. The hcp gene was used as an indicator for the T6SS presence.

RESULTS:

Using multiplex PCR we have identified a significantly higher prevalence of hcp in C. coli isolates (56.1%) than in C. jejuni (28.8%) and AFLP analysis of the isolates showed a high degree of genetic similarity between the isolates carrying the hcp gene. Genome sequencing data showed that 84.3% of the C. coli and 93.7% of the C. jejuni isolates had all 13 T6SS open reading frames. Moreover, the virulence characteristics of hcp + isolates, including motility and the ability to invade human intestinal epithelial cells in vitro, were significantly greater than in the control strain C. jejuni 12502; a human isolate which is hcp positive.

CONCLUSION:

Overall, it was discovered that hcp (+) C. coli and C. jejuni isolated from retail chicken isolates posses genetic and phenotypic properties associated with enhanced virulence. However, since human infections with C. coli are significantly less frequent than those of C. jejuni, the relationship between virulence factors and pathogenesis requires further study.

KEYWORDS:

Campylobacter jejuni; Retail chicken; Type VI secretion system

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