Campylobacteriosis caused by C. jejuni is a serious yet common foodborne disease in the U.S. The prevalence of fluoroquinolone-resistant C. jejuni from poultry has continued to increase despite the withdrawal of fluoroquinolone use in the U.S. poultry industry in 2005. To date, no clear selective pressures that explain this effect have been documented. In this study, we investigated limited bioavailability of iron in poultry and enhanced iron uptake and regulation as potential indirect selective pressures conferring fitness advantages in fluoroquinolone-resistant C. jejuni compared to its susceptible wild-type counterpart. Five fluoroquinolone-susceptible C. jejuni isolates were selected from litter collected from commercial broiler farms. Using antibiotic selection, five fluoroquinolone-resistant strains were created. Relative expressions of six genes involved in iron acquisition and regulation were compared between the resistant and susceptible strains using RT-qPCR under normal and iron-limiting conditions. High variability in the relative gene expressions was observed among the strains, with only one resistant strain showing the consistent upregulation of the measured genes compared to the matching susceptible wild-type. Our results suggest that the hypothesis tested in the study may not be an adequate explanation of the molecular mechanism behind the enhanced fitness of fluoroquinolone-resistant C. jejuni compared to susceptible C. jejuni. This study highlights the need for a better understanding of the complex ecology and dynamics of fluoroquinolone resistance in C. jejuni in poultry environment and warrants an examination of fluoroquinolone-resistant C. jejuni strains recovered from the natural broiler chicken environment.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Emerging Zoonotic Disease Signature Program from the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota.
- Campylobacter jejuni
- Fluoroquinolone resistance
- Relative gene expression
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Comparative Study
- Journal Article