Detection of galE gene by polymerase chain reaction in campylobacters associated with Guillain-Barre syndrome

Mol Cell Probes. 2003 Dec;17(6):313-7. doi: 10.1016/j.mcp.2003.08.002.


Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) is a neuromuscular disorder and campylobacteriosis is known to trigger the onset of the disorder. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) protocol was developed that could specifically amplify a 497-bp region of the UDP-galactose 4-epimerase (galE) gene sequence in campylobacters responsible for triggering the onset of GBS. The identity of the PCR product was confirmed by Hind III endonuclease restriction digestion, which produced the predicted 430 and 67-bp DNA fragments. The assay could detect the presence of the gene in Campylobacter suspensions containing as few as 5 cells ml(-1). The assay detected the presence of the gene in 17 of the 20 campylobacters isolated from chicken, 9 of the 13 campylobacters isolated from turkey and 7 of the 7 campylobacters isolated from human stools. All Campylobacter strains isolated from chicken, turkey and clinical samples were resistant to multiple antibiotics. The assay failed to detect the presence of the gene in five different microaerophilic strains of Helicobacter spp., E. coli and Salmonella spp. The entire diagnostic assay, including template preparation, amplification and electrophoresis, can be completed within 6 h.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Campylobacter / genetics*
  • Campylobacter / isolation & purification
  • Campylobacter Infections / complications
  • Campylobacter Infections / genetics*
  • Chickens
  • DNA Primers / genetics
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • DNA, Bacterial / isolation & purification
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Food Microbiology
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / complications
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Poultry Products / microbiology*
  • Restriction Mapping
  • Turkeys
  • UDPglucose 4-Epimerase / genetics*


  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • UDPglucose 4-Epimerase