Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: November 12, 1999
Publication Date: January 1, 2000
Citation: MEINERSMANN, R.J. POPULATION FGENETICS AND GENEALOGY OF CAMPYLOBACTER JEJUNI. BOOK CHAPTER. 2000.
Campylobacter jejuni is the most common bacterial cause of enteritis in humans and is also found in a variety of other niches. This paper reviews the use of population genetics and genealogy in the study of C. jejuni. C. jejuni shares DNA with other individuals in recombinant events. However, it appears that there is a meroclonal structure to the population, such that portions of the genome are more stable than others. Multilocus enzyme electrophoresis analyses reveal that overall there is linkage disequilibrium, but pair-wise linkage analysis shows that some loci, particularly catalase, are not linked to other loci. Multiple sequence analyses also reveal evidence of recombinant events. These are more prevalent in genes for products that are known to be targets for immune reactions. The flagellin genes appear to use special mechanisms for generation of diversity, possibly involving concerted evolution. C. jejuni has a low G + C content, approximately 34 percent. Codon usage is biased to reflect the G + C content and appears to show selective pressure for expression. Little is known about the mechanisms used by Campylobacter to exchange and generate diversity in DNA. Further understanding of the population genetics of Campylobacter will help to discover how the organisms respond to selective pressures.