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PLoS Biol. 2017 May 19;15(5):e2001390. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2001390. eCollection 2017 May.

Metabolic and fitness determinants for in vitro growth and intestinal colonization of the bacterial pathogen Campylobacter jejuni.

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Department of Microbial Pathogenesis, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America.
Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hospital Epidemiology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.
Lehrstuhl für Biochemie, Technische Universität München, Garching, Germany.
Microbial Sciences Institute, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America.


Campylobacter jejuni is one of the leading infectious causes of food-borne illness around the world. Its ability to persistently colonize the intestinal tract of a broad range of hosts, including food-producing animals, is central to its epidemiology since most infections are due to the consumption of contaminated food products. Using a highly saturated transposon insertion library combined with next-generation sequencing and a mouse model of infection, we have carried out a comprehensive genome-wide analysis of the fitness determinants for growth in vitro and in vivo of a highly pathogenic strain of C. jejuni. A comparison of the C. jejuni requirements to colonize the mouse intestine with those necessary to grow in different culture media in vitro, combined with isotopologue profiling and metabolic flow analysis, allowed us to identify its metabolic requirements to establish infection, including the ability to acquire certain nutrients, metabolize specific substrates, or maintain intracellular ion homeostasis. This comprehensive analysis has identified metabolic pathways that could provide the basis for the development of novel strategies to prevent C. jejuni colonization of food-producing animals or to treat human infections.

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