Genomic investigation into strain heterogeneity and pathogenic potential of the emerging gastrointestinal pathogen Campylobacter ureolyticus

PLoS One. 2013 Aug 30;8(8):e71515. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0071515. eCollection 2013.


The recent detection and isolation of C. ureolyticus from patients with diarrhoeal illness and inflammatory bowel diseases warrants further investigation into its role as an emerging pathogen of the human gastrointestinal tract. Regarding the pathogenic mechanisms employed by this species we provide the first whole genome analysis of two C. ureolyticus isolates including the type strain. Comparative analysis, subtractive hybridisation and gene ontology searches against other Campylobacter species identifies the high degree of heterogenicity between C. ureolyticus isolates, in addition to the identification of 106 putative virulence associated factors, 52 of which are predicted to be secreted. Such factors encompass each of the known virulence tactics of pathogenic Campylobacter spp. including adhesion and colonisation (CadF, PEB1, IcmF and FlpA), invasion (ciaB and 16 virB-virD4 genes) and toxin production (S-layer RTX and ZOT). Herein, we provide the first virulence catalogue for C. ureolyticus, the components of which theoretically provide this emerging species with sufficient arsenal to establish pathology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antitoxins / genetics
  • Bacterial Adhesion / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Bacterial Secretion Systems / genetics
  • Bacterial Toxins / genetics
  • Campylobacter / genetics*
  • Campylobacter / pathogenicity*
  • Campylobacter Infections / genetics
  • Campylobacter Infections / microbiology*
  • Computational Biology
  • Conserved Sequence / genetics
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / pathology*
  • Genes, Bacterial / genetics
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genome, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Open Reading Frames / genetics
  • Solubility
  • Synteny / genetics
  • Virulence / genetics


  • Antitoxins
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Bacterial Secretion Systems
  • Bacterial Toxins

Associated data

  • GENBANK/KB894730
  • GENBANK/KB894731
  • GENBANK/KB894732
  • GENBANK/KB894733
  • GENBANK/KB894734
  • GENBANK/KB894735
  • GENBANK/KB894736
  • GENBANK/KB894737
  • GENBANK/KB894738
  • GENBANK/KB894739
  • GENBANK/KB894740
  • GENBANK/KB894741
  • GENBANK/KB894742
  • GENBANK/KB894743
  • GENBANK/KB894744
  • GENBANK/KB894745
  • GENBANK/KB894746
  • GENBANK/KB894747
  • GENBANK/KB894748
  • GENBANK/KB894749
  • GENBANK/KB894750
  • GENBANK/KB894751
  • GENBANK/KB894752
  • GENBANK/KB894753
  • GENBANK/KB894754
  • GENBANK/KB894755
  • GENBANK/KB894756
  • GENBANK/KB894757
  • GENBANK/KB894758
  • GENBANK/KB894759
  • GENBANK/KB894760
  • GENBANK/KB894761
  • GENBANK/KB894762
  • GENBANK/KB894763
  • GENBANK/KB894764

Grant support

SB and AL are supported by scholarships from the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (RS/2009/1670 and RS/2012/219 respectively). RDS is an ESCMID Fellow and Coordinator of the EU FP7 IAPP project ClouDx-i. Funding was provided by Serosep Ltd, Ireland. The authors would like to thank Dr Nikos Kyrpides (DOE Joint Genome Institute) for his insightful discussion on the area. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.