To investigate how Campylobacter jejuni causes the clinical symptoms of diarrhoeal disease in humans, use of a relevant animal model is essential. Such a model should mimic the human disease closely in terms of host physiology, incubation period before onset of disease, clinical signs and a comparable outcome of disease. In this study, we used a gnotobiotic piglet model to study determinants of pathogenicity of C. jejuni. In this model, C. jejuni successfully established infection and piglets developed an increased temperature with watery diarrhoea, which was caused by a leaky epithelium and reduced bile re-absorption in the intestines. Further, we assessed the C. jejuni genes required for infection of the porcine gastrointestinal tract utilising a transposon (Tn) mutant library screen. A total of 123 genes of which Tn mutants showed attenuated piglet infection were identified. Our screen highlighted a crucial role for motility and chemotaxis, as well as central metabolism. In addition, Tn mutants of 14 genes displayed enhanced piglet infection. This study gives a unique insight into the mechanisms of C. jejuni disease in terms of host physiology and contributing bacterial factors.
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- School of Engineering & Physical Sciences - Professor
- School of Engineering & Physical Sciences, Institute of Biological Chemistry, Biophysics and Bioengineering - Professor
Person: Academic (Research & Teaching)