Unexpected differential metabolic responses of Campylobacter jejuni to the abundant presence of glutamate and fucose

Justin J. J. van der Hooft, Wejdan Alghefari, Eleanor Watson, Paul Everest, Fraser R. Morton, Karl E. V. Burgess, David George Emslie Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
204 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: Campylobacter jejuni is the leading cause of foodborne bacterial enteritis in humans, and yet little is known in regard to how genetic diversity and metabolic capabilities among isolates affect their metabolic phenotype and pathogenicity. Objectives: For instance, the C. jejuni 11168 strain can utilize both l-fucose and l-glutamate as a carbon source, which provides the strain with a competitive advantage in some environments and in this study we set out to assess the metabolic response of C. jejuni 11168 to the presence of l-fucose and l-glutamate in the growth medium. Methods: To achieve this, untargeted hydrophilic liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry was used to obtain metabolite profiles of supernatant extracts obtained at three different time points up to 24 h. Results: This study identified both the depletion and the production and subsequent release of a multitude of expected and unexpected metabolites during the growth of C. jejuni 11168 under three different conditions. A large set of standards allowed identification of a number of metabolites. Further mass spectrometry fragmentation analysis allowed the additional annotation of substrate-specific metabolites. The results show that C. jejuni 11168 upon l-fucose addition indeed produces degradation products of the fucose pathway. Furthermore, methionine was faster depleted from the medium, consistent with previously-observed methionine auxotrophy. Conclusions: Moreover, a multitude of not previously annotated metabolites in C. jejuni were found to be increased specifically upon l-fucose addition. These metabolites may well play a role in the pathogenicity of this C. jejuni strain.

Original languageEnglish
Article number144
Issue number11
Early online date23 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


  • Campylobacter jejuni
  • HILIC chromatography
  • Mass spectrometry fragmentation
  • Metabolomics
  • Sulphur metabolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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