The pathogenic clinical strain NCTC11168 was the first Campylobacter jejuni strain to be sequenced and has been a widely used laboratory model for studying C. jejuni pathogenesis. However, continuous passaging of C. jejuni NCTC11168 has been shown to dramatically affect its colonisation potential. Glycan array analysis was performed on C. jejuni NCTC11168 using the frequently passaged, non-colonising, genome sequenced (11168-GS) and the infrequently passaged, original, virulent (11168-O) isolates grown or maintained under various conditions. Glycan structures recognised and bound by C. jejuni included terminal mannose, N-acetylneuraminic acid, galactose and fucose. Significantly, it was found that only when challenged with normal oxygen at room temperature did 11168-O consistently bind to sialic acid or terminal mannose structures, while 11168-GS bound these structures regardless of growth/maintenance conditions. Further, binding of un-capped galactose and fucosylated structures was significantly reduced when C. jejuni was maintained at 25°C under atmospheric oxygen conditions. These binding differences identified through glycan array analysis were confirmed by the ability of specific lectins to competitively inhibit the adherence of C. jejuni to a Caco-2 intestinal cell line. Our data suggests that the binding of mannose and/or N-acetylneuraminic acid may provide the initial interactions important for colonisation following environmental exposure
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