The aims of this study were to evaluate the presence of genes associated with adhesion (cadF), invasion (ciaB), and cytotoxin production (cdtA, cdtB, and cdtC) among Campylobacter jejuniisolates from a poultry slaughterhouse and to investigate the effect of different temperatures on the expression of these virulence-associated genes. A total of 88 C. jejuni isolates from cecum, liver, chicken carcasses, chilled water, and scalding water were submitted to PCR assay for detection of virulence genes. Representative isolates were selected for gene expression evaluation at 37 and 42 °C, according to their virulence gene profile and genotypic typing. All C. jejuni isolates carried the five virulence-associated genes, which play an important role in the infectious process. Differential gene expression by RT–qPCR was observed among C. jejuni isolates at 37 and 42 °C. The expression levels at 37 °C showed upregulation of the ciaB, cdtA, cdtB, and cdtC genes in five isolates, with the exception of ciaB for isolate 4. At 42 °C, upregulation was observed for ciaB and cdtC, cdtA and cdtB, and cadF in four, three, and two isolates, respectively. The C. jejuni isolates expressed the virulence genes evaluated, and the expression is gene- and isolate-dependent and varied according the temperature.
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