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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1993 May;59(5):1269-73.

Role of Campylobacter jejuni flagella as colonization factors for three-day-old chicks: analysis with flagellar mutants.

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Department of Pathology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia 19104-4283.


Campylobacter jejuni, an important cause of human gastrointestinal infection, is a major food-borne pathogen in the United States and worldwide. Since poultry becomes colonized and/or contaminated during the early stages of production and is a major food-borne source for this organism, we studied the role of C. jejuni flagella on the ability of the bacterium to colonize the chicken gastrointestinal tract. Three-day-old chicks were orally challenged with a motile wild-type strain of C. jejuni IN9 or with flagellar mutants created from IN9 by disrupting the flagellin genes with a kanamycin resistance cassette by using shuttle mutagenesis (A. Labigne-Roussel, P. Courcoux, and L. Tompkins, J. Bacteriol. 170:1704-1708, 1988). One mutant, IN9-N3, lacked flagella and was nonmotile. The other, IN9-N7, produced a truncated flagellum and was partially motile. Three-day-old chicks were orally challenged with different doses of the wild-type strain and the two mutants. At challenge doses ranging from 3.0 x 10(4) to 6.6 x 10(8) CFU per chick, only the fully motile, wild-type strain colonized the chick ceca. Our results show that intact and motile flagella are important colonization factors for C. jejuni in chicks.

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