Transducer Like Proteins (Tlps), also known as methyl accepting chemotaxis proteins (MCP), enable enteric pathogens to respond to changing nutrient levels in the environment by mediating taxis toward or away from specific chemoeffector molecules. Despite recent advances in the characterization of chemotaxis responses in Campylobacter jejuni, the impact of Tlps on the adaptation of this pathogen to disparate niches and hosts is not fully characterized. The latter is particularly evident in the case of C. jejuni 81-176, a strain that is known to be highly invasive. Furthermore, the cytoplasmic group C Tlps (Tlp5, 6, and 8) were not extensively evaluated. Here, we investigated the role of C. jejuni 81-176 Tlps in chemotaxis toward various substrates, biofilm formation, in vitro interaction with human intestinal cells, and chicken colonization. We found that the Δtlp6 and Δtlp10 mutants exhibited decreased chemotaxis toward aspartate, whereas the Δtlp6 mutant displayed a decreased chemotaxis toward Tri-Carboxylic Acid (TCA) cycle intermediates such as pyruvate, isocitrate, and succinate. Our findings also corroborated that more than one Tlp is involved in mediating chemotaxis toward the same nutrient. The deletion of tlps affected important phenotypes such as motility, biofilm formation, and invasion of human intestinal epithelial cells (INT-407). The Δtlp8 mutant displayed increased motility in soft agar and showed decreased biofilm formation. The Δtlp8 and Δtlp9 mutants were significantly defective in invasion in INT-407 cells. The Δtlp10 mutant was defective in colonization of the chicken proximal and distal gastrointestinal tract, while the Δtlp6 and Δtlp8 mutants showed reduced colonization of the duodenum and jejunum. Our results highlight the importance of Tlps in C. jejuni's adaptation and pathobiology.
- Amino acids
- Methyl accepting chemoreceptors
- Organic acids