Role of capsular polysaccharides and lipooligosaccharides in campylobacter surface properties, autoagglutination, and attachment to abiotic surfaces
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The role of capsular polysaccharides and lipooligosaccharides in cell surface hydrophobicity, surface charge, autoagglutination (AAG), and attachment to abiotic surfaces of three strains of Campylobacter jejuni and one strain of C. coli were investigated. This was achieved by removal of capsular polysaccharides and truncation of lipooligosaccharides core oligosaccharides by inactivation of the kpsE and waaF genes, respectively. The mutants and the wild-type strains were compared after growth under planktonic (broth) and sessile (agar) conditions. Cells grown as planktonic cultures showed a significantly (p<0.05) higher degree of hydrophobicity and AAG activity but differed from their sessile counterparts with respect to surface charge and attachment counts, depending on the strain. These results suggest that prior mode of growth affects the surface properties and attachment of Campylobacter in a strain-dependent manner. There were no significant (p>0.05) differences between the three C. jejuni strains and their ΔkpsE and ΔwaaF mutants with respect to all traits tested. Inactivation of the kpsE gene significantly (p<0.05) reduced the surface charge of the C. coli strain from ~-10 to ~-6 mV and increased its AAG activity, while disruption of the waaF gene significantly (p<0.05) increased its surface hydrophobicity by >8° and decreased the numbers of cells attaching to stainless steel and glass by ~0.5 log/cm2. These results suggest that surface polysaccharides may influence the surface properties and attachment to abiotic surfaces of C. coli but not C. jejuni. This suggestion, however, requires further investigation using a larger number of strains of both species.
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