Foodborne Bacterial Pathogens: molecular mechanisms underlying transmission and virulence of Campylobacter

Lead Research Organisation: Quadram Institute Bioscience
Department Name: Contracts

Abstract

The goals of this project are to define the molecular basis of food chain transmission and virulence of the foodborne bacterial pathogen Campylobacter. The uniqueness of Campylobacter as foodborne pathogen requires the development and application of new scientific approaches to increase our understanding of this organism, as current (often E. coli/Salmonella-based) paradigms cannot explain its success as foodborne pathogen. The Campylobacter research at IFR combines the use of state-of-the-art high throughput technologies and a host of organism-specific molecular microbiology tools, for strategic genomic and postgenomic research into Campylobacter physiology, metabolism, transmission and virulence. These studies will be incorporated into systems level approaches and network science analyses for Campylobacter. An improved understanding of Campylobacter biology will both inform regulators and scientists on the effect of efforts for improving food safety and public health, may help industry in devising improved packaging and storage conditions, as well as impact on science and knowledge on bacterial pathogens.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Our work on genomics of Campylobacter has shown that there are clear differences between environmental isolates and agricultural isolates of Campylobacter, and this new knowledge on where different Campylobacters are found can influence government policy and industry approaches.

Our work on evolution of Campylobacter shows that this organism is highly resilient and can make significant changes in its genetic potential, which needs to be taken into account in any work on antimicrobials.

Our work on Campylobacter biofilms has resulted in significant attention from industry and press, as this is a vehicle by which Campylobacter can be transmitted through the food chain. This has resulted in consultancies with industry, in radio interviews and in participation in advice to government and funders.

Finally, we have identified a bacterial "sat-nav"; which controls the direction of Campylobacter movement. This publication made the BBSRC News.
Exploitation Route Our work can influence all those working on molecular tools for the epidemiology of bacterial pathogens, as we have developed new rapid analysis methods based on genome sequencing.

Our work on selenium metabolism and directed movement can be used for chemically disrupting colonisation strategies of Campylobacter.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

 
Description Our work on Campylobacter biofilms has resulted in significant attention from industry and press, as this is a vehicle by which Campylobacter can be transmitted through the food chain. This has resulted in consultancies with industry, in radio interviews and in participation in advice to government and funders. Together with TGAC, UEA and Canadian collaborators, we have developed new bioinformatic analysis methods for rapid, high-throughput phylogenomic analysis of genome sequences. With support from a multicentre (IFR, Public Health England, TGAC, UEA, Swansea, Liverpool) FSA Strategic Research Grant ("Generating tools for the molecular epidemiology of Campylobacter coli by next generation genome sequencing") these analysis methods will be applied to understanding food chain survival of Campylobacter as well as colonisation/virulence ability of Campylobacter. We have found that Campylobacter requires selenium for formate-based respiration, and have identified a new uptake system for bacteria. This is currently being investigated as a target for feed additives to combat Campylobacter colonisation of poultry. We have shown that biofilms are an important vehicle for Campylobacter survival in food-chain relevant conditions, and have won an iCASE studentship to further investigate this. This work has attracted interest from the poultry industry. Finally, we have identified a bacterial "sat-nav" which controls the direction of Campylobacter movement. This publication made the BBSRC News.
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description FRIENZ
Amount £50,000 (GBP)
Organisation Government of New Zealand 
Sector Public
Country New Zealand
Start 06/2014 
End 06/2015
 
Description Innovate UK Biofilm grants
Amount £100,000 (GBP)
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2016 
End 03/2017
 
Description Strategic Science
Amount £140,000 (GBP)
Funding ID FS101087 
Organisation Food Standards Agency (FSA) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2013 
End 02/2016
 
Description Campylobacter coli genomics consortium 
Organisation Earlham Institute
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Consortium to sequence Campylobacter coli genomes to contribute to development of molecular epidemiology. Funded by FSA
Collaborator Contribution Consortium to sequence Campylobacter coli genomes to contribute to development of molecular epidemiology. Funded by FSA
Impact Genome sequences, analyses, report to funder
Start Year 2013
 
Description Campylobacter coli genomics consortium 
Organisation Public Health England
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Consortium to sequence Campylobacter coli genomes to contribute to development of molecular epidemiology. Funded by FSA
Collaborator Contribution Consortium to sequence Campylobacter coli genomes to contribute to development of molecular epidemiology. Funded by FSA
Impact Genome sequences, analyses, report to funder
Start Year 2013
 
Description Campylobacter coli genomics consortium 
Organisation Swansea University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Consortium to sequence Campylobacter coli genomes to contribute to development of molecular epidemiology. Funded by FSA
Collaborator Contribution Consortium to sequence Campylobacter coli genomes to contribute to development of molecular epidemiology. Funded by FSA
Impact Genome sequences, analyses, report to funder
Start Year 2013
 
Description Campylobacter coli genomics consortium 
Organisation University of East Anglia
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Consortium to sequence Campylobacter coli genomes to contribute to development of molecular epidemiology. Funded by FSA
Collaborator Contribution Consortium to sequence Campylobacter coli genomes to contribute to development of molecular epidemiology. Funded by FSA
Impact Genome sequences, analyses, report to funder
Start Year 2013
 
Description Campylobacter coli genomics consortium 
Organisation University of Liverpool
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Consortium to sequence Campylobacter coli genomes to contribute to development of molecular epidemiology. Funded by FSA
Collaborator Contribution Consortium to sequence Campylobacter coli genomes to contribute to development of molecular epidemiology. Funded by FSA
Impact Genome sequences, analyses, report to funder
Start Year 2013
 
Description BBC Watchdog Testhouse 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Contributed to BBCT Watchdog Testhouse, showing an experiment which demonstrated how people at home can protect themselves against Campylobacter by cooking their meat.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Contribution to BBC Countryfile (TV) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Contribution to Campylobacter documentary on BBC Countryfile, to discuss the scientific background of Campylobacter infection and information about the bacterium.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Public lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Public lecture on food safety
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.ifr.ac.uk/news/latest-news/2015/10/would-you-food-poisoning/