Core Genome Multilocus Sequence Typing Scheme for Stable, Comparative Analyses of Campylobacter jejuni and C. coli Human Disease Isolates

J Clin Microbiol. 2017 Jul;55(7):2086-2097. doi: 10.1128/JCM.00080-17. Epub 2017 Apr 26.


Human campylobacteriosis, caused by Campylobacter jejuni and C. coli, remains a leading cause of bacterial gastroenteritis in many countries, but the epidemiology of campylobacteriosis outbreaks remains poorly defined, largely due to limitations in the resolution and comparability of isolate characterization methods. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) data enable the improvement of sequence-based typing approaches, such as multilocus sequence typing (MLST), by substantially increasing the number of loci examined. A core genome MLST (cgMLST) scheme defines a comprehensive set of those loci present in most members of a bacterial group, balancing very high resolution with comparability across the diversity of the group. Here we propose a set of 1,343 loci as a human campylobacteriosis cgMLST scheme (v1.0), the allelic profiles of which can be assigned to core genome sequence types. The 1,343 loci chosen were a subset of the 1,643 loci identified in the reannotation of the genome sequence of C. jejuni isolate NCTC 11168, chosen as being present in >95% of draft genomes of 2,472 representative United Kingdom campylobacteriosis isolates, comprising 2,207 (89.3%) C. jejuni isolates and 265 (10.7%) C. coli isolates. Validation of the cgMLST scheme was undertaken with 1,478 further high-quality draft genomes, containing 150 or fewer contiguous sequences, from disease isolate collections: 99.5% of these isolates contained ≥95% of the 1,343 cgMLST loci. In addition to the rapid and effective high-resolution analysis of large numbers of diverse isolates, the cgMLST scheme enabled the efficient identification of very closely related isolates from a well-defined single-source campylobacteriosis outbreak.

Keywords: Campylobacter; core genome; molecular epidemiology; whole-genome sequencing.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Campylobacter Infections / microbiology*
  • Campylobacter coli / classification*
  • Campylobacter coli / genetics*
  • Campylobacter coli / isolation & purification
  • Campylobacter jejuni / classification*
  • Campylobacter jejuni / genetics*
  • Campylobacter jejuni / isolation & purification
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Molecular Epidemiology / methods
  • Multilocus Sequence Typing / methods*
  • United Kingdom