Molecular mechanisms of campylobacter infection

Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2009;337:197-229. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-01846-6_7.


Campylobacter jejuni is the principal bacterial foodborne pathogen. A major challenge still is to identify the virulence strategies exploited by C. jejuni. Recent genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics approaches indicate that C. jejuni displays extensive inter- and intrastrain variation. The diverse behavior enables bacterial adaptation to different environmental conditions and directs interactions with the gut mucosa. Here, we report recent progress in understanding the molecular mechanisms and functional consequences of the phenotype diversity. The results suggest that C. jejuni actively penetrates the intestinal mucus layer, secretes proteins mainly via its flagellar apparatus, is engulfed by intestinal cells, and can disrupt the integrity of the epithelial lining. C. jejuni stimulates the proinflammatory pathway and the production of a large repertoire of cytokines, chemokines, and innate effector molecules. Novel experimental infection models suggest that the activation of the innate immune response is important for the development of intestinal pathology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Campylobacter Infections / immunology
  • Campylobacter Infections / microbiology*
  • Campylobacter jejuni / pathogenicity*
  • Campylobacter jejuni / physiology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / microbiology
  • Virulence