Use of defined mutants to assess the role of the Campylobacter rectus S- layer in bacterium-epithelial cell interactions

Beinan Wang, Ellen Kraig, David Kolodrubetz

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31 Scopus citations


Campylobacter rectus is a periodontal pathogen with a 150-kDa protein on its cell surface. This protein forms a paracrystalline lattice, called the S- layer, surrounding the outer membrane of this gram-negative bacterium. To initiate a genetic analysis of the possible role of the S-layer in the initial interaction of C. rectus with host epithelial cells, C. rectus strains lacking the S-layer protein gene (crsA) were constructed by allelic exchange mutagenesis. Surprisingly, the lack of the S-layer had only a minor effect on the interaction of C. rectus with HEp-2 epithelial cells; CrsA+ cells were 30 to 50% more adherent than were CrsA- bacteria. Since the host cell expression of cytokines appears to play an important role in the pathogenesis of periodontal diseases, the effect of the S-layer on the epithelial cell cytokine response was also examined by quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Although there were no changes in the mRNA levels for the anti-inflammatory cytokines interleukin-1 receptor agonist (IL-1ra), IL-13, and transforming growth factor β, the expression and secretion of the proinflammatory cytokines IL- 6, IL-8, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) were significantly induced by both wild-type C. rectus and CrsA- bacteria. Interestingly, the kinetics of cytokine induction differed for the CrsA+ and CrsA- bacteria. At early time points, the HEp-2 cells challenged with CrsA- bacteria produced higher levels of IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-α mRNA and protein than did cells challenged with CrsA+ bacteria. We conclude that C. rectus may help initiate periodontitis by increasing the expression of proinflammatory cytokines and that the S-layer may temper this response to facilitate the survival of C. rectus at the site of infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1465-1473
Number of pages9
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology


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