Campylobacter jejuni infection is an important trigger of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), and serotype HS:19 strains are over-represented among GBS-associated isolates. Structures in C. jejuni lipooligosaccharide (LOS) resemble human gangliosides, suggesting that molecular mimicry could be important in triggering the neural injury. We assessed the genetic diversity among 36 C. jejuni serotype HS:19 and non-HS:19 strains by analysis of PCR-based restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) patterns of 12 LOS biosynthesis-related genes (wla cluster). PCR amplification revealed that the size, order, and direction of each wla gene was identical among all strains tested. However, an additional ORF, located between wlaI and wlaK, was detected in 28 of the 36 isolates examined, and nucleotide sequence analysis revealed that the gene was identical to orfE in C. jejuni strain NCTC 11168. An inverted repeat motif was found downstream of the wlaI stop codon and upstream of the orfE stop codon, an organization allowing pairing of repeated sequences that could lead to deletion of the internal segment. Digestion of the PCR products with restriction endonuclease DdeI or AluI and cluster analysis of RFLP banding patterns showed that all HS:19 strains were closely related and distinct from non-HS:19 strains, consistent with earlier analyses, suggesting that HS:19 strains represent a highly clonal population. RFLP analysis of wla genes also may be useful for epidemiological studies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology
- Infectious Diseases