Purpose of review: The Campylobacter species jejuni and coli are leading causes of enteritis and enterocolitis worldwide. Arthritis, Reiter syndrome, and Guillain-Barré syndrome represent post-infectious sequelae. Although the acute and chronic clinical manifestations highlight Campylobacter species as excellent models for the identification of mechanisms involved in pathogenesis, detailed investigations at the molecular level are complicated by the fastidious growth requirements of the bacteria and by the tremendous variability displayed by Campylobacter isolates. Thus, research activities in this field constitute a substantial challenge for scientists of many different disciplines. The genome information has greatly stimulated investigations at the molecular level and the resulting modern research trends lead to a better understanding of Campylobacter-associated diseases providing the basis for new developments in prevention and therapy.
Recent findings: This review summarizes results from the most recent investigations in the field of Campylobacter pathogenesis. Topics include genome analysis, surface structures and post-infectious complications, adaptation, host cell interaction and cell toxicity.
Summary: During its coevolution with human and other vertebrate hosts, Campylobacter species have developed specific survival strategies, which are required for host adaptation and establishment in the intestinal environment. The bacterial factors involved in these processes are the subject of intensive research activities. With a focus on molecular aspects of the most important human pathogen, C. jejuni, this review intends to summarize the recent trends and developments in Campylobacter research by highlighting selected publications in the field of microbial pathogenesis.