This study characterizes the interaction between Campylobacter jejuni and the 16 phages used in the United Kingdom typing scheme by screening spontaneous mutants of the phage-type strains and transposon mutants of the sequenced strain NCTC 11168. We show that the 16 typing phages fall into four groups based on their patterns of activity against spontaneous mutants. Screens of transposon and defined mutants indicate that the phage-bacterium interaction for one of these groups appears to involve the capsular polysaccharide (CPS), while two of the other three groups consist of flagellatropic phages. The expression of CPS and flagella is potentially phase variable in C. jejuni, and the implications of these findings for typing and intervention strategies are discussed.
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