Despite the prevalence of Campylobacter jejuni as an important food borne pathogen, the microbial factors governing its infection process are poorly characterized. In this study, we developed a novel rabbit soft tissue chamber model to investigate C. jejuni interactions with its host. The in vivo transcriptome profile of C. jejuni was monitored as a function of time post-infection by competitive microarray hybridization with cDNA obtained from C. jejuni grown in vitro. Genome-wide expression analysis identified 449 genes expressed at significantly different levels in vivo. Genes implicated to play important roles in early colonization of C. jejuni within the tissue chamber include up-regulation of genes involved in ribosomal protein synthesis and modification, heat shock response, and primary adaptation to the host environment (DccSR regulon). Genes encoding proteins involved in the TCA cycle and flagella related components were found to be significantly down-regulated during early colonization. Oxidative stress defense and stringent response genes were found to be maximally induced during the acute infectious phase. Overall, these findings reveal possible mechanisms involved in adaptation of Campylobacter to the host
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