• Open Access

Identification of a Campylobacter jejuni-secreted protein required for maximal invasion of host cells

Authors


*E-mail konkel@wsu.edu; Tel. (+1) 509 335 5039; Fax (+1) 509 335 1907.

Summary

The food-borne pathogen Campylobacter jejuni is dependent on a functional flagellum for motility and the export of virulence proteins that promote maximal host cell invasion. Both the flagellar and non-flagellar proteins exported via the flagellar type III secretion system contain a sequence within the amino-terminus that directs their export from the bacterial cell. Accordingly, we developed a genetic screen to identify C. jejuni genes that encode a type III secretion amino-terminal sequence that utilizes the flagellar type III secretion system of Yersinia enterocolitica and a phospholipase reporter (yplA). We screened a library of 321 C. jejuni genes and identified proteins with putative type III secretion amino-terminal sequences. One gene identified by the screen was Cj1242. We generated a mutation in Cj1242, and performed growth rate, motility, secretion and INT 407 cell adherence and internalization assays. The C. jejuni Cj1242 mutant was not altered in growth rate or motility when compared with the wild-type strain, but displayed an altered secretion profile and a reduction in host cell internalization. Based on the phenotype of the C. jejuni Cj1242 mutant, we designated the protein Campylobacter invasion antigen C (CiaC). Collectively, our findings indicate that CiaC is a potentially important virulence factor.

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