Motility as an intestinal colonization factor for Campylobacter jejuni

J Gen Microbiol. 1985 Aug;131(8):1973-80. doi: 10.1099/00221287-131-8-1973.


The colonization of the intestinal tract of suckling mice by Campylobacter jejuni was examined by orally challenging the mice with a wild-type strain and several nonmotile mutant strains which were isolated after treating the wild-type strain with mutagens. The wild-type strain had colonized the lower portion of the small intestine, the caecum and the colon 2 d after inoculation. Two nonmotile strains, one of which (M8) had lost all the flagellar structure including the filament, the hook and the basal structure, and the other (M1) which had lost only the filament region, were both cleared from the intestinal tract 2 d after challenge. Another nonmotile strain (M14), which had a complete flagellar structure like that of the wild-type strain, did not colonize and was cleared from the intestinal tract like the other nonmotile and nonflagellated strains. One atypically motile strain (M5), which had a shorter flagellar filament than that of the wild-type strain, colonized the intestinal tract only when mice were challenged with a large inoculum. None of the mice challenged with either the wild-type or any of the mutant strains showed signs of illness. We concluded that motility is an important factor in the colonization of the intestinal tract of suckling mice by C. jejuni.

MeSH terms

  • Adhesiveness
  • Animals
  • Campylobacter / pathogenicity*
  • Campylobacter / ultrastructure
  • Digestive System / microbiology*
  • Flagella / analysis
  • Locomotion
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Mutation