Molecular characterization of Campylobacter jejuni clones: a basis for epidemiologic investigation.
Dingle KE., Colles FM., Ure R., Wagenaar JA., Duim B., Bolton FJ., Fox AJ., Wareing DRA., Maiden MCJ.
A total of 814 isolates of the foodborne pathogen Campylobacter jejuni were characterized by multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and analysis of the variation of two cell-surface components: the heat-stable (HS) serotyping antigen and the flagella protein FlaA short variable region. We identified 379 combinations of the MLST loci (sequence types) and 215 combinations of the cell-surface components among these isolates, which had been obtained from human disease, animals, food, and the environment. Despite this diversity, 748 (92%) of the isolates belonged to one of 17 clonal complexes, 6 of which contained many (318, 63%) of the human disease isolates. Several clonal complexes exhibited associations with isolation source or particular cell-surface components; however, the latter were poorly predictive of clonal complex. These data demonstrate that the clonal complex, as defined by MLST, is an epidemiologically relevant unit for both long and short-term investigations of C. jejuni epidemiology.