Domestication of Campylobacter jejuni NCTC 11168

Ben Pascoe, Lisa K. Williams, Jessica K. Calland, Guillaume Meric, Matthew D. Hitchings, Myles Dyer, Joseph Ryder, Sophie Shaw, Bruno S. Lopes, Cosmin Chintoan-Uta, Elaine Allan, Ana Vidal, Catherine Fearnley, Paul Everest, Justin A. Pachebat, Tristan A. Cogan, Mark P. Stevens, Thomas J. Humphrey, Thomas S. Wilkinson, Alison J. CodyFrances M. Colles, Keith A. Jolley, Martin C. J. Maiden, Norval Strachan, Bruce M. Pearson, Dennis Linton, Brendan W. Wren, Julian Parkhill, David J. Kelly, Arnoud H. M. van Vliet, Ken J. Forbes, Samuel K. Sheppard (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
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Reference and type strains of well-known bacteria have been a cornerstone of microbiology research for decades. The sharing of well-characterised isolates among laboratories has parallelised research efforts and enhanced the reproducibility of experiments, leading to a wealth of knowledge about trait variation in different species and the underlying genetics. Campylobacter jejuni strain NCTC 11168, deposited at the National Collection of Type Cultures in 1977, has been adopted widely as a reference strain by researchers worldwide and was the first Campylobacter for which the complete genome was published (in 2000). In this study, we collected 23 C. jejuni NCTC 11168 reference isolates from laboratories across the UK and compared variation in simple laboratory phenotypes with genetic variation in sequenced genomes. Putatively identical isolates identified previously to have aberrant phenotypes varied by up to 281 SNPs (in 15 genes) compared to the most recent reference strain. Isolates also display considerable phenotype variation in motility, morphology, growth at 37°C, invasion of chicken and human cell lines and susceptibility to ampicillin. This study provides evidence of ongoing evolutionary change among C. jejuni isolates as they are cultured in different laboratories and highlights the need for careful consideration of genetic variation within laboratory reference strains.
Original languageEnglish
Article number279
JournalMicrobial Genomics
Issue number7
Early online date1 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding information
B. P. and S. K. S. are supported by a Medical Research Council grant
(MR/L015080/1). L. K. W. is funded by BBSRC (BB/M009610/1). The
funders played no part in the study design, article preparation or the
decision to publish.


  • genomics
  • microbial evolution
  • culture collections
  • Campylobacter


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