Temperature-dependent membrane fatty acid and cell physiology changes in coccoid forms of Campylobacter jejuni.

W.C. Hazeleger, H.D. Janse, P.M.F.J. Koenraad, R.R. Beumer, F.M. Rombouts, T. Abee

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The effect of temperature and the availability of nutrients on the transition of spiral Campylobacter jejuni cells to coccoid forms was investigated. Ageing of spiral C. jejuni cells in either nutrient-poor or nutrient-rich environments resulted in the formation of nonculturable coccoid cells at 4, 12, and 25 degrees C after different periods, with the cells incubated at 4 degrees C in nutrient-deficient media remaining culturable the longest. To study the phenomenon, ATP levels, protein profiles, and fatty acid compositions were monitored under conditions where the transition from spiral to coccoid cells occurred. During storage, the levels of intracellular ATP were highest in cells incubated at low temperatures (4 and 12 degrees C) and remained constant after a small initial decrease. During the transformation from spiral to coccoid forms, no alteration in protein profiles could be detected; indeed, inhibition of protein synthesis by chloramphenicol did not influence the transition. Furthermore, DNA damage by gamma irradiation had no effect on the process. Membrane fatty acid composition of cocci formed at low temperatures was found to be almost identical to that of spiral cells, whereas that of cocci formed at 25 degrees C was clearly different. Combining these results, it is concluded that the formation of cocci is not an active process. However, distinctions between cocci formed at different temperatures were observed. Cocci formed at 4 degrees C show characteristics comparable to those of spirals, and these cocci may well play a role in the contamination cycle of C. jejuni.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2713-2719
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 1995


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