The house fly, Musca domestica, has been implicated as a vector of Campylobacter spp., a major cause of human disease. Little is known whether house flies serve as biological amplifying hosts or mechanical vectors for Campylobacter jejuni. We investigated the period after C. jejuni had been ingested by house flies in which viable C. jejuni colonies could be isolated from whole bodies, the vomitus and the excreta of adult M. domestica and evaluated the activation of innate immune responses of house flies to ingested C. jejuni over time. C. jejuni could be cultured from infected houseflies soon after ingestion but no countable C. jejuni colonies were observed > 24 hours post-ingestion. We detected viable C. jejuni in house fly vomitus and excreta up to 4 hours after ingestion, but no viable bacteria were detected ≥ 8 hours. Suppression subtractive hybridization identified pathogen-induced gene expression in the intestinal tracts of adult house flies 4–24 hours after ingesting C. jejuni. We measured the expression of immune regulatory (thor, JNK, and spheroide) and effector (cecropin, diptericin, attacin, defensin and lysozyme) genes in C. jejuni-infected and -uninfected house flies using quantitative real time PCR. Some house fly factor, or combination of factors, eliminates C. jejuni within 24 hours post-ingestion. Because C. jejuni is not amplified within the body of the housefly, this insect likely serves as a mechanical vector rather than as a true biological, amplifying vector for C. jejuni, and adds to our understanding of insect-pathogen interactions.
- antimicrobial peptides
- Campylobacter spp.
- Campylobacteriosis, house fly
- innate immunity
- Musca domestica
- suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH)