Comparative Genomic Hybridization Analysis Shows Different Epidemiology of Chromosomal and Plasmid-Borne cpe-Carrying Clostridium perfringens Type A
ABSTRACT Clostridium perfringens, one of the most common causes of food poisonings, can carry the enterotoxin gene, cpe, in its chromosome or on a plasmid. C. perfringens food poisonings are more frequently caused by the chromosomal cpe-carrying strains, while the plasmid-borne cpe-positive genotypes are more commonly found in the human feces and environmental samples. Different tolerance to food processing conditions by the plasmid-borne and chromosomal cpe-carrying strains has been reported, but the reservoirs and contamination routes of enterotoxin-producing C. perfringens remain unknown. A comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) analysis with a DNA microarray based on three C. perfringens type A genomes was conducted to shed light on the epidemiology of C. perfringens food poisonings caused by plasmid-borne and chromosomal cpe-carrying strains by comparing chromosomal and plasmid-borne cpe-positive and cpe-negative C. perfringens isolates from human, animal, environmental, and food samples. The chromosomal and plasmid-borne cpe-positive C. perfringens genotypes formed two distinct clusters. Variable genes were involved with myo-inositol, ethanolamine and cellobiose metabolism, suggesting a new epidemiological model for C. perfringens food poisonings. The CGH results were complemented with growth studies, which demonstrated different myo-inositol, ethanolamine, and cellobiose metabolism between the chromosomal and plasmid-borne cpe-carrying strains. These findings support a ubiquitous occurrence of the plasmid-borne cpe-positive strains and their adaptation to the mammalian intestine, whereas the chromosomal cpe-positive strains appear to have a narrow niche in environments containing degrading plant material. Thus the epidemiology of the food poisonings caused by two populations appears different, the plasmid-borne cpe-positive strains probably contaminating foods via humans and the chromosomal strains being connected to plant material.
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ABSTRACT: In the current study, the outgrowth of spores of 15 different food isolates of Clostridium perfringens was evaluated in vacuum-packed ground beef during storage at 12°C and 25°C. This included enterotoxic strains carrying the gene encoding the CPE enterotoxin on the chromosome (C-cpe), on a plasmid (P-cpe) and cpe-negative strains. The 15 strains were selected from a larger group of strains that were first evaluated for their ability to sporulate in modified Duncan-Strong sporulating medium. Sporulation ability varied greatly between strains but was not associated with a particular cpe genotype. In line with previous studies, the tested C-cpe strains produced spores with significantly higher heat resistance than the cpe-negative and P-cpe strains (both IS1151 and IS1470-like) with the exception of strain VWA009. Following inoculation of vacuum-packed cooked ground beef with spores, the heat-resistant C-cpe strains showed lower outgrowth potential in this model food stored at 12°C than the P-cpe and cpe-negative strains, while no significant differences were observed at 25°C. These results suggest that the latter strains may have a competitive advantage over C-cpe strains at reduced temperatures during storage of foods that support the growth of C. perfringens. While spores of P-cpe strains are readily inactivated by heat processing, post-processing contamination by food handlers who may carry P-cpe strains that have a better growth potential at lower temperatures must be avoided. The varying responses of C. perfringens spores to heat and the differences in outgrowth capacity at different temperatures are factors to be considered in strain selection for challenge tests, and for predictive modelling of C. perfringens. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.International Journal of Food Microbiology 11/2014; 194C:40-45. DOI:10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2014.11.008 · 3.16 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: SUMMARY In both humans and animals, Clostridium perfringens is an important cause of histotoxic infections and diseases originating in the intestines, such as enteritis and enterotoxemia. The virulence of this Gram-positive, anaerobic bacterium is heavily dependent upon its prolific toxin-producing ability. Many of the ∼16 toxins produced by C. perfringens are encoded by large plasmids that range in size from ∼45 kb to ∼140 kb. These plasmid-encoded toxins are often closely associated with mobile elements. A C. perfringens strain can carry up to three different toxin plasmids, with a single plasmid carrying up to three distinct toxin genes. Molecular Koch's postulate analyses have established the importance of several plasmid-encoded toxins when C. perfringens disease strains cause enteritis or enterotoxemias. Many toxin plasmids are closely related, suggesting a common evolutionary origin. In particular, most toxin plasmids and some antibiotic resistance plasmids of C. perfringens share an ∼35-kb region containing a Tn916-related conjugation locus named tcp (transfer of clostridial plasmids). This tcp locus can mediate highly efficient conjugative transfer of these toxin or resistance plasmids. For example, conjugative transfer of a toxin plasmid from an infecting strain to C. perfringens normal intestinal flora strains may help to amplify and prolong an infection. Therefore, the presence of toxin genes on conjugative plasmids, particularly in association with insertion sequences that may mobilize these toxin genes, likely provides C. perfringens with considerable virulence plasticity and adaptability when it causes diseases originating in the gastrointestinal tract.Microbiology and molecular biology reviews: MMBR 06/2013; 77(2):208-233. DOI:10.1128/MMBR.00062-12 · 15.26 Impact Factor