Living in cold blood: Arcobacter, Campylobacter, and Helicobacter in reptiles

Maarten J. Gilbert*, Birgitta Duim, Aldert L. Zomer, Jaap A. Wagenaar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Species of the Epsilonproteobacteria genera Arcobacter, Campylobacter, and Helicobacter are commonly associated with vertebrate hosts and some are considered significant pathogens. Vertebrate-associated Epsilonproteobacteria are often considered to be largely confined to endothermic mammals and birds. Recent studies have shown that ectothermic reptiles display a distinct and largely unique Epsilonproteobacteria community, including taxa which can cause disease in humans. Several Arcobacter taxa are widespread amongst reptiles and often show a broad host range. Reptiles carry a large diversity of unique and novel Helicobacter taxa, which apparently evolved in an ectothermic host. Some species, such as Campylobacter fetus, display a distinct intraspecies host dichotomy, with genetically divergent lineages occurring either in mammals or reptiles. These taxa can provide valuable insights in host adaptation and co-evolution between symbiont and host. Here, we present an overview of the biodiversity, ecology, epidemiology, and evolution of reptile-associated Epsilonproteobacteria from a broader vertebrate host perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1086
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2019


  • Arcobacter
  • Biodiversity
  • Campylobacter
  • Ecology
  • Epsilonproteobacteria
  • Evolution
  • Helicobacter
  • Reptile


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