Background: Several studies have shown that significant genotypic heterogeneity exists among Campylobacter concisus strains. Recently, the genome of C. concisus UNSWCD, isolated from a patient with Crohn's disease, was sequenced.
Results: In this study, comparative analyses were performed between strain UNSWCD and BAA-1457, isolated from a patient with acute gastroenteritis. Searches between C. concisus UNSWCD and BAA-1457 showed that 76% of genes were homologues, whereas those between C. jejuni strains showed 90-91% to be homologues, indicating substantial variation exists within these two C. concisus genomes. More specific bidirectional homology searches identified 1593 genes that are shared between these strains, and 115 and 281 genes unique to UNSWCD and BAA-1457, respectively. Significantly, differences in the type of flagellin glycosylation pathways between the two strains were identified and confirmed by PCR. The protein profiles of UNSWCD, BAA-1457 and a further six strains of C. concisus were compared and analyzed bioinformatically, and this differentiated the strains into four clades. BAA-1457 was found to be highly divergent (average similarity: 56.8%) from the other seven strains (mean average similarity ± standard deviation: 64.7 ± 1.7%). Furthermore, searches for homologues of the 1593 proteins found to be common between UNSWCD and BAA-1457 were conducted against all available bacterial genomes, and 18 proteins were found to be unique to C. concisus, of which 6 were predicted to be secreted, and may represent good markers for detection of this species.
Conclusions: This study has elucidated several features that may be responsible for the heterogeneity that exists among C. concisus strains, and has determined that the strain BAA-1457 is genetically atypical to other C. concisus strains and is not a good candidate reference strain.