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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Genomic and Phenotypic Characteristics in Geographically Separated Clinical Campylobacter jejuni ST353CC Isolates

Dicksved, Johan; Johansson, Cecilia; Kampmann, Christian; Nilsson, Anna; Dicksved, Johan; Engstrand, Lars; Rautelin, Hilpi


Campylobacter jejuni fecal isolates of eight international travelers, 5 of which had traveled to Ecuador and 3 to Bangladesh, were characterized, and the possible relationship between bacterial traits and clinical symptoms was further analyzed. All eight isolates belonged to the same MultiLocus Sequence Type clonal complex (ST353CC). The three isolates from Bangladesh were all of the same sequence type (ST-9438), and when compared to isolates of various other sequence types, they had a larger quantity of unique genetic content, higher expression levels of some putative virulence genes involved in adhesion and invasion (flpA, ciaB and iamA), and showed higher adhesion levels to human HT-29 colon cancer cells in an in vitro infection model. However, in contrast to the seemingly higher pathogenic potential of these bacterial isolates, travelers infected with the ST-9438 isolates had no or only very mild symptoms, whereas the other individuals, whose bacterial isolates seemed to have less pathogenic potential, generally reported severe symptoms. When studying the 16S rRNA gene-based fecal microbiota in samples collected prior to travel, there was an individual variation in the relative abundance of the three major bacterial phyla Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes, but there were no associations between composition and diversity of microbiota and development of severe symptoms from the infection. It remains to be confirmed by larger studies whether an individual’s characteristics such as gut microbiota, might be related to the severity of symptoms in Campylobacter infections.


campylobacter jejuni; ST353CC; virulence; pathogenesis; microbiota; whole-genome sequence

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2021, Volume: 9, number: 12, article number: 2540

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