Are bacteriophage defence and virulence two sides of the same coin in Campylobacter jejuni?

Rogier Louwen, P van Baarlen

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6 Citations (Scopus)


The continuous battle for survival in the environment has led to the development or acquisition of sophisticated defence systems in bacteria. These defence systems have contributed to the survival of the bacterial species in the environment for millions of years. Some systems appear to have evolved in a number of pathogenic bacteria towards a role in virulence and host immune evasion. Recently, different bacterial cell envelope components from diverse bacterial species have been linked not only to bacteriophage defence, but also to virulence features. In the present review we focus specifically on the bacterial cell envelope-expressed sialic-acid-containing LOS (lipo-oligosaccharide) structures and Type II CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats)-Cas (CRISPR-associated) genes that both occur in specific Gram-negative pathogens. In Campylobacter jejuni circumstantial evidence points at a potential intertwined dual function between sialylated LOS structures and subtype II-C CRISPR-Cas, i.e. in phage defence and virulence. In the present review we discuss whether a dual functionality of sialylated LOS and subtype II-C CRISPR-Cas is exclusive to C. jejuni only or could be more widespread within the group of Type II CRISPR-Cas-harbouring bacteria. We conclude from the literature that, at least in C. jejuni, circumstantial evidence exists for a complex intertwined dual functionality between sialylated LOS and Type II CRISPR-Cas, and that other bacteria show similar genomic signatures.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)1475-1481
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical Society Transactions
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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  • EMC MM-04-28-01

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