Epsilon-toxin plasmids of Clostridium perfringens type D are conjugative.

Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Structural and Functional Microbial Genomics, Department of Microbiology, Monash University, Victoria 3800, Australia.
Journal of Bacteriology (Impact Factor: 3.19). 12/2007; 189(21):7531-8. DOI: 10.1128/JB.00767-07
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Isolates of Clostridium perfringens type D produce the potent epsilon-toxin (a CDC/U.S. Department of Agriculture overlap class B select agent) and are responsible for several economically significant enterotoxemias of domestic livestock. It is well established that the epsilon-toxin structural gene, etx, occurs on large plasmids. We show here that at least two of these plasmids are conjugative. The etx gene on these plasmids was insertionally inactivated using a chloramphenicol resistance cassette to phenotypically tag the plasmid. High-frequency conjugative transfer of the tagged plasmids into the C. perfringens type A strain JIR325 was demonstrated, and the resultant transconjugants were shown to act as donors in subsequent mating experiments. We also demonstrated the transfer of "unmarked" native epsilon-toxin plasmids into strain JIR325 by exploiting the high transfer frequency. The transconjugants isolated in these experiments expressed functional epsilon-toxin since their supernatants had cytopathic effects on MDCK cells and were toxic in mice. Using the widely accepted multiplex PCR approach for toxin genotyping, these type A-derived transconjugants were genotypically type D. These findings have significant implications for the C. perfringens typing system since it is based on the toxin profile of each strain. Our study demonstrated the fluid nature of the toxinotypes and their dependence upon the presence or absence of toxin plasmids, some of which have for the first time been shown to be conjugative.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Clostridium perfringens type C isolates, which cause enteritis necroticans in humans and enteritis and enterotoxaemias of domestic animals, typically produce (at minimum) beta toxin (CPB), alpha toxin (CPA) and perfringolysin O (PFO) during log-phase growth. To assist development of improved vaccines and therapeutics, we evaluated the contribution of these three toxins to the intestinal virulence of type C disease isolate CN3685. Similar to natural type C infection, log-phase vegetative cultures of wild-type CN3685 caused haemorrhagic necrotizing enteritis in rabbit ileal loops. When isogenic toxin null mutants were prepared using TargeTron technology, even a double cpa/pfoA null mutant of CN3685 remained virulent in ileal loops. However, two independent cpb null mutants were completely attenuated for virulence in this animal model. Complementation of a cpb mutant restored its CPB production and intestinal virulence. Additionally, pre-incubation of wild-type CN3685 with a CPB-neutralizing monoclonal antibody rendered the strain avirulent for causing intestinal pathology. Finally, highly purified CPB reproduced the intestinal damage of wild-type CN3685 and that damage was prevented by pre-incubating purified CPB with a CPB monoclonal antibody. These results indicate that CPB is both required and sufficient for CN3685-induced enteric pathology, supporting a key role for this toxin in type C intestinal pathogenesis.
    Molecular Microbiology 02/2008; 67(1):15-30. · 5.03 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Clostridium perfringens is an anaerobic gram-positive spore-forming bacillus. It is one of the pathogens with larger distribution in the environment; it can be isolated from soil and water samples, which also belongs to the intestinal flora of animals and humans. However, on some occasions it can act as an opportunistic pathogen, causing diseases such as gas gangrene, enterotoxemia in sheep and goats and lamb dysentery, among others. In human beings, it is associated to diseases such as food poisoning, necrotic enterocolitis of the infant and necrotic enteritis or pigbel in Papua-New Guinea tribes. The renewed interest existing nowadays in the study of C. perfringens as a veterinarian and human pathogen, together with the advance of molecular biology, had enabled science to have deeper knowledge of the biology and pathology of these bacteria. In this review, we discuss and update the principal aspects of C. perfringens intestinal pathology, in terms of the toxins with major medical relevance at present.
    Revista Argentina de microbiología 12/2009; 41(4):251-60. · 0.54 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Epsilon toxin (ETX) is produced by strains of Clostridium perfringens classified as type B or type D. ETX belongs to the heptameric β-pore-forming toxins including aerolysin and Clostridium septicum alpha toxin, which are characterized by the formation of a pore through the plasma membrane of eukaryotic cells consisting in a β-barrel of 14 amphipatic β strands. By contrast to aerolysin and C. septicum alpha toxin, ETX is a much more potent toxin and is responsible for enterotoxemia in animals, mainly sheep. ETX induces perivascular edema in various tissues and accumulates in particular in the kidneys and brain, where it causes edema and necrotic lesions. ETX is able to pass through the blood-brain barrier and stimulate the release of glutamate, which accounts for the symptoms of nervous excitation observed in animal enterotoxemia. At the cellular level, ETX causes rapid swelling followed by cell death involving necrosis. The precise mode of action of ETX remains to be determined. ETX is a powerful toxin, however, it also represents a unique tool with which to vehicle drugs into the central nervous system or target glutamatergic neurons.
    FEBS Journal 04/2011; 278(23):4602-15. · 4.25 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
Jul 1, 2014