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BMC Genomics. 2017 Aug 14;18(1):616. doi: 10.1186/s12864-017-4032-8.

Essential genome of Campylobacter jejuni.

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Department of Poultry Science, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, 72701, USA.
Present Address: Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Clinical Translational Research Building, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, 40202, USA.
Department of Poultry Science, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, 72701, USA.
Cell and Molecular Biology Program, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, 72701, USA.



Campylobacter species are a leading cause of bacterial foodborne illness worldwide. Despite the global efforts to curb them, Campylobacter infections have increased continuously in both developed and developing countries. The development of effective strategies to control the infection by this pathogen is warranted. The essential genes of bacteria are the most prominent targets for this purpose. In this study, we used transposon sequencing (Tn-seq) of a genome-saturating library of Tn5 insertion mutants to define the essential genome of C. jejuni at a high resolution.


We constructed a Tn5 mutant library of unprecedented complexity in C. jejuni NCTC 11168 with 95,929 unique insertions throughout the genome and used the genomic DNA of the library for the reconstruction of Tn5 libraries in the same (C. jejuni NCTC 11168) and different strain background (C. jejuni 81-176) through natural transformation. We identified 166 essential protein-coding genes and 20 essential transfer RNAs (tRNA) in C. jejuni NCTC 11168 which were intolerant to Tn5 insertions during in vitro growth. The reconstructed C. jejuni 81-176 library had 384 protein coding genes with no Tn5 insertions. Essential genes in both strain backgrounds were highly enriched in the cluster of orthologous group (COG) categories of 'Translation, ribosomal structure and biogenesis (J)', 'Energy production and conversion (C)', and 'Coenzyme transport and metabolism (H)'.


Comparative analysis among this and previous studies identified 50 core essential genes of C. jejuni, which can be further investigated for the development of novel strategies to control the spread of this notorious foodborne bacterial pathogen.


Campylobacter; Essential genes; Transposon sequencing (Tn-seq)

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