Despite the importance of lipooligosaccharides (LOSs) in the pathogenicity of campylobacteriosis, little is known about the genetic and phenotypic diversity of LOS in Campylobacter coli In this study, we investigated the distribution of LOS locus classes among a large collection of unrelated C. coli isolates sampled from several different host species. Furthermore, we paired C. coli genomic information and LOS chemical composition for the first time to investigate possible associations between LOS locus class sequence diversity and biochemical heterogeneity. After identifying three new LOS locus classes, only 85% of the 144 isolates tested were assigned to a class, suggesting higher genetic diversity than previously thought. This genetic diversity is at the basis of a completely unexplored LOS structural heterogeneity. Mass spectrometry analysis of the LOSs of nine isolates, representing four different LOS classes, identified two features distinguishing C. coli LOS from that of Campylobacter jejuni 2-Amino-2-deoxy-d-glucose (GlcN)-GlcN disaccharides were present in the lipid A backbone, in contrast to the ß-1'-6-linked 3-diamino-2,3-dideoxy-d-glucopyranose (GlcN3N)-GlcN backbone observed in C. jejuni Moreover, despite the fact that many of the genes putatively involved in 3-acylamino-3,6-dideoxy-d-glucose (Quip3NAcyl) were apparently absent from the genomes of various isolates, this rare sugar was found in the outer core of all C. coli isolates. Therefore, regardless of the high genetic diversity of the LOS biosynthesis locus in C. coli, we identified species-specific phenotypic features of C. coli LOS that might explain differences between C. jejuni and C. coli in terms of population dynamics and host adaptation.
Despite the importance of C. coli to human health and its controversial role as a causative agent of Guillain-Barré syndrome, little is known about the genetic and phenotypic diversity of C. coli LOSs. Therefore, we paired C. coli genomic information and LOS chemical composition for the first time to address this paucity of information. We identified two species-specific phenotypic features of C. coli LOS, which might contribute to elucidating the reasons behind the differences between C. jejuni and C. coli in terms of population dynamics and host adaptation.