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Multiple Campylobacter Genomes Sequenced

e completely sequenced, but we still know little about how Campylobacter species cause disease. In their search for clues, Derrick Fouts and coworkers have completely sequenced the genome of C. jejuni strain RM1221 (isolated from a chicken carcass) and compared it with the previously sequenced C. jejuni strain NCTC 11168 and with the unfinished sequences of C. coli strain RM2228 (a multi-drug-resistant chicken isolate), C. lari strain RM2100 (a clinical isolate), and C. upsaliensis strain RM3195 (taken from a patient with Guillain-Barré syndrome).

The researchers describe numerous differences and similarities between these different Campylobacter strains and species. For example, there are major structural differences between the genomes caused by the insertion of new stretches of DNA. Some of these pieces of DNA may carry genes that improve bacterial virulence or fitness, so their presence could help to explain the different biological behaviors of these strains. There are also major variations in the genes responsible for synthesis of molecules that are important for the interaction of Campylobacter with the environment. Such differences could underlie the host specificity of the different species.

Differences between the Campylobacter species in genes that are likely to be involved in aspects of bacterial virulence, such as adherence, motility, and toxin formation, are all detailed by Fouts et al., who also describe a new putative Campylobacter virulence locus. Further work is needed to relate these genomic differences to functional differences, but this detailed comparative genomic analysis provides the core blueprint for this important family of human pathogens. And in doing so, it lays the foundation for the development of new ways to monitor and control Campylobacter in the food chain and in human infection.


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Source:PLoS Biology


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