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A Nitric Oxide Responsive Network in Campylobacter jejuni and Its Role in Intracellular Survival and Resistance to Nitrosative Stresses

University of Surrey
University of Sheffield
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Some of the studies main objectives are to:
  • determine the mechanism of NO detoxification
  • mutate individual genes of the NssR regulon to establish key components of the nitrosative stress response
  • use reporter gene fusions to monitor the response of C. jejuni to nitrosative stress
  • purify and biochemically characterise NssR
  • characterise the regulation of NssR expression and identify possible regulators
More information

Background: This is a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council/Food Standards Agency research project, funded under the Government Partnership Award (GPA) scheme.

Campylobacter jejuni is the predominant bacterial agent of human gastrointestinal infection in the UK. Whilst the disease in humans is not generally fatal, it is highly unpleasant and a significant public health burden.

As part of the body's first defence against infection, the immune system can generate a toxic gas called nitric oxide (NO) that, when dissolved in the fluid around the infecting bacteria, is able to destroy them. It has recently been discovered that C. jejuni can resist NO. To do this the bacterium must first be able to detect the toxic gas and then produce proteins to neutralise the NO. A putative NO detector and NO responsive regulator (the NssR-regulon) have recently been identified in C. jejuni.

The study will characterise this NO responsive network, identify whether it is essential for infection and investigate how it enables C. jejuni to resist NO. In future, the results could be used to develop novel ways of controlling this bacterium by blocking its ability to resist NO, thus making it sensitive to this killing agent.

Funding Source
Food Standards Agency
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