U.S. Department of Defense


Date of this Version



Published in Infection and Immunity (March 2013) 81:3, p. 665-672. DOI:10.1128/IAI.01008-12


Campylobacter jejuni is a major cause of bacterial diarrheal disease worldwide. The organism is characterized by a diversity of polysaccharide structures, including a polysaccharide capsule. Most C. jejuni capsules are known to be decorated nonstoichiometrically with methyl phosphoramidate (MeOPN). The capsule of C. jejuni 81-176 has been shown to be required for serum resistance, but here we show that an encapsulated mutant lacking the MeOPN modification, an mpnC mutant, was equally as sensitive to serum killing as the nonencapsulated mutant. A nonencapsulated mutant, a kpsM mutant, exhibited significantly reduced colonization compared to that of wild-type 81-176 in a mouse intestinal colonization model, and the mpnC mutant showed an intermediate level of colonization. Both mutants were associated with higher levels of interleukin 17 (IL-17) expression from lamina propria CD4+ cells than from cells from animals infected with 81-176. In addition, reduced levels of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and TLR2 activation were observed following in vitro stimulation of human reporter cell lines with the kpsM and mpnC mutants compared to those with wild-type 81-176. The data suggest that the capsule polysaccharide of C. jejuni and the MeOPN modification modulate the host immune response.