PredictINg Niche Adaptation by CampyLobactEr using CRISPR spacers and their targets (PINNACLE)

Campylobacter is the major bacterial cause of gastroenteritis. Transmission occurs via contaminated food, water, animals and environments. Most infections are attributed to poultry, but cannot be explained with foodborne transmission alone. Campylobacter is found in animals and water, where its DNA is threatened by invading DNA from bacteriophages or plasmids. Like many bacteria it has an adaptive immune system (CRISPR-Cas) that protects its DNA against this threat, by recognizing and inactivating invading DNA. .

Approach/working method

As bacteriophages and plasmids are often specific to a particular source, CRISPR offers the possibility to link the acquired spacers to specific environments. In PINNACLE, we will investigate how CRISPR dynamics are related to environmental niche adaptation and recalibrate source attribution models. 

(Expected) results

Our outcomes will provide better estimates of the (non-food) sources of Campylobacter, facilitating novel interventions to reduce its disease burden.


Project number:
Duration: 5%
Duration: 5 %
Part of programme:
Related funding round:
Project lead and secretary:
Dr. I.L. Bergval
Responsible organisation:
Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu