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    Campylobacter jejuni helical shape is important for colonization and host interactions with straight mutants having altered biological properties. Passage on calcofluor white (CFW) resulted in C. jejuni 81-176 isolates with morphology changes: either a straight morphology from frameshift mutations and single nucleotide polymorphisms in peptidoglycan hydrolase genes pgp1 or pgp2 or a reduction in curvature due a frameshift mutation in cjj81176_1105, a putative peptidoglycan endopeptidase. Shape defects were restored by complementation. Whole genome sequencing of CFW-passaged strains showed no specific changes correlating to CFW exposure. The cjj81176_1279 (recR; recombinational DNA repair) and cjj81176_1449 (unknown function) genes were highly variable in all 81-176 strains sequenced. A frameshift mutation in pgp1 of our laboratory isolate of the straight genome sequenced variant of 11168 (11168-GS) was also identified. The PG muropeptide profile of 11168-GS was identical to that of Δpgp1 in the original minimally passaged 11168 strain (11168-O). Introduction of wild type pgp1 into 11168-GS did not restore helical morphology. The recR gene was also highly variable in 11168 strains. Microbial cell-to-cell heterogeneity is proposed as a mechanism of ensuring bacterial survival in sub-optimal conditions. In certain environments, changes in C. jejuni morphology due to genetic heterogeneity may promote C. jejuni survival. © 2017 The Authors. Molecular Microbiology Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


    Emilisa Frirdich, Jacob Biboy, Steven Huynh, Craig T Parker, Waldemar Vollmer, Erin C Gaynor. Morphology heterogeneity within a Campylobacter jejuni helical population: the use of calcofluor white to generate rod-shaped C. jejuni 81-176 clones and the genetic determinants responsible for differences in morphology within 11168 strains. Molecular microbiology. 2017 Jun;104(6):948-971

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    PMID: 28316093

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