We have constructed plasmids to be used for in vitro signature-tagged mutagenesis (STM) of Campylobacter jejuni and used these to generate STM libraries in three different strains. Statistical analysis of the transposon insertion sites in the C. jejuni NCTC 11168 chromosome and the plasmids of strain 81-176 indicated that their distribution was not uniform. Visual inspection of the distribution suggested that deviation from uniformity was not due to preferential integration of the transposon into a limited number of hot spots but rather that there was a bias towards insertions around the origin. We screened pools of mutants from the STM libraries for their ability to colonize the ceca of 2-week-old chickens harboring a standardized gut flora. We observed high-frequency random loss of colonization proficient mutants. When cohoused birds were individually inoculated with different tagged mutants, random loss of colonization-proficient mutants was similarly observed, as was extensive bird-to-bird transmission of mutants. This indicates that the nature of campylobacter colonization in chickens is complex and dynamic, and we hypothesize that bottlenecks in the colonization process and between-bird transmission account for these observations.
- Base Sequence
- Campylobacter jejuni/genetics
- DNA Primers
- DNA Transposable Elements/genetics
- Escherichia coli/genetics
- Mutagenesis, Insertional