Campylobacter jejuni is one of the most common bacterial causes of food-borne enteritis worldwide. Chemotaxis in C. jejuni is known to be critical for the successful colonization of the host and key for the adaptation of the microbial species to different host environments. In C. jejuni, chemotaxis is regulated by a complex interplay of 13 or even more different chemoreceptors, also known as transducer-like proteins (Tlps). Recently, a novel chemoreceptor gene, tlp12, was described and found to be present in 29.5% of the investigated C. jejuni strains.In this study, we present a functional analysis of Tlp12 with the aid of a tlp12 knockout mutant of the C. jejuni strain A17. Substrate specificity was investigated by capillary chemotaxis assays and revealed that Tlp12 plays an important role in chemotaxis towards glutamate and pyruvate. Moreover, the ?tlp12 mutant shows increased swarming motility in soft agar assays, an enhanced invasion rate into Caco-2 cells and an increased autoagglutination rate. The growth rate was slightly reduced in the ?tlp12 mutant. The identified phenotypes were in partial restored by complementation with the wild type gene. Tlp12-harboring C. jejuni strains display a strong association with chicken, whose excreta are known to contain high glutamate levels.TLP12 is a chemoreceptor for glutamate and pyruvate recognition. Deletion of tlp12 has an influence on distinct physiological features, such as growth rate, swarming motility, autoagglutination and invasiveness.
Journal: BMC microbiology