Activation of the transcription factor NF-kappaB by Campylobacter jejuni

Microbiology (Reading). 2002 Sep;148(Pt 9):2753-2763. doi: 10.1099/00221287-148-9-2753.


Campylobacter jejuni is a food-borne pathogen responsible for infectious enterocolitis. The early-response transcription factor NF-kappa B triggers the expression of genes associated with cellular immune and inflammatory responses. Co-incubation of HeLa cells with viable C. jejuni leads to the activation of the transcription factor NF-kappa B as determined by specific induction of a cellular luciferase-based reporter. Boiled cell-free extracts of C. jejuni are also potent dose-dependent stimulators of NF-kappa B-dependent transcription, the levels of which can reach up to 1000-fold as compared with independent controls. Using both cultured HeLa cells and human colonic epithelial (HCA-7) cells, the activation of NF-kappa B by C. jejuni boiled extract has been monitored through the degradation of IKB alpha and DNA binding of the nuclear translocated p50/p65 heterodimer of NF-kappa B. These events are co-ordinated with elaboration of the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-8. Fractionation of the boiled C. jejuni extract suggests that the majority of the bioactive component has a molecular mass of 3 kDa or less, which is insensitive to proteinase K treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Western
  • Campylobacter Infections / microbiology
  • Campylobacter jejuni / genetics
  • Campylobacter jejuni / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Enterocolitis / microbiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-8 / biosynthesis*
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism*
  • Transcriptional Activation


  • Interleukin-8
  • NF-kappa B