MLST clustering of Campylobacter jejuni isolates from patients with gastroenteritis, reactive arthritis and Guillain-Barré syndrome

J Appl Microbiol. 2010 Feb;108(2):591-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2672.2009.04444.x. Epub 2009 Jun 25.


Aims: To determine the diversity and population structure of Campylobacter jejuni (C. jejuni) isolates from Danish patients and to examine the association between multilocus sequence typing types and different clinical symptoms including gastroenteritis (GI), Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) and reactive arthritis (RA).

Methods and results: Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) was used to characterize 122 isolates, including 18 from patients with RA and 8 from patients with GBS. The GI and RA isolates were collected in Denmark during 2002-2003 and the GBS isolates were obtained from other countries. In overall, 51 sequence types (STs) were identified within 18 clonal complexes (CCs). Of these three CCs, ST-21, ST-45 and ST-22 clonal complexes accounted for 64 percent of all isolates. The GBS isolates in this study significantly grouped into the ST-22 clonal complex, consistent with the PubMLST database isolates. There was no significant clustering of the RA isolates.

Conclusions: Isolates from Denmark were found to be highly genetically diverse. GBS isolates grouped significantly with clonal complex ST-22, but the absence of clustering of RA isolates indicated that the phylogenetic background for this sequela could not be reconstructed using variation in MLST loci. Possibly, putative RA-associated genes may vary, by recombination or expression differences, independent of MLST loci.

Significance and impact of the study: MLST typing of C. jejuni isolates from Danish patients with gastroenteritis confirmed that the diversity of clones in Denmark is comparable to that in other European countries. Furthermore, a verification of the grouping of GBS isolates compared to RA isolates provides information about evolution of the bacterial population resulting in this important sequela.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Reactive / microbiology*
  • Bacterial Typing Techniques
  • Campylobacter jejuni / classification
  • Campylobacter jejuni / genetics
  • Campylobacter jejuni / isolation & purification*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Denmark
  • Gastroenteritis / microbiology*
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Phylogeny
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • DNA, Bacterial