Alpha-toxin of Clostridium perfringens is not an essential virulence factor in necrotic enteritis in chickens.
ABSTRACT The Clostridium perfringens alpha-toxin has previously been implicated as the major virulence factor in necrotic enteritis in chickens, although definitive proof has not been reported. In this study an alpha-toxin mutant was constructed in a virulent chicken isolate and shown to retain full virulence in a chicken disease model. These results demonstrated that alpha-toxin is not an essential virulence factor in the pathogenesis of necrotic enteritis in chickens.
Article: Effects of Clostridium perfringens alpha-toxin (PLC) and perfringolysin O (PFO) on cytotoxicity to macrophages, on escape from the phagosomes of macrophages, and on persistence of C. perfringens in host tissues.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Clostridium perfringens is the most common cause of clostridial myonecrosis (gas gangrene). Polymorphonuclear cells (PMNs) appear to play only a minor role in preventing the onset of myonecrosis in a mouse animal model of the disease (unpublished results). However, the importance of macrophages in the host defense against C. perfringens infections is still unknown. Two membrane-active toxins produced by the anaerobic C. perfringens, alpha-toxin (PLC) and perfringolysin O (PFO), are thought to be important in the pathogenesis of gas gangrene and the lack of phagocytic cells at the site of infection. Therefore, C. perfringens mutants lacking PFO and PLC were examined for their relative cytotoxic effects on macrophages, their ability to escape the phagosome of macrophages, and their persistence in mouse tissues. C. perfringens survival in the presence of mouse peritoneal macrophages was dependent on both PFO and PLC. PFO was shown to be the primary mediator of C. perfringens-dependent cytotoxicity to macrophages. Escape of C. perfringens cells from phagosomes of macrophage-like J774-33 cells and mouse peritoneal macrophages was mediated by either PFO or PLC, although PFO seemed to play a more important role in escape from the phagosome in peritoneal macrophages. At lethal doses (10(9)) of bacteria only PLC was necessary for the onset of myonecrosis, while at sublethal doses (10(6)) both PFO and PLC were necessary for survival of C. perfringens in mouse muscle tissue. These results suggest PFO-mediated cytotoxicity toward macrophages and the ability to escape macrophage phagosomes may be important factors in the ability of C. perfringens to survive in host tissues when bacterial numbers are low relative to those of phagocytic cells, e.g., early in an infection.Infection and Immunity 10/2004; 72(9):5204-15. · 4.16 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Gas gangrene is an acute and devastating infection most frequently caused by Clostridium perfringens and characterized by severe myonecrosis, intravascular leukocyte accumulation, and significant thrombosis. Several lines of evidence indicate that C. perfringens phospholipase C (Cp-PLC), also called alpha-toxin, is the major virulence factor in this disease. This toxin is a Zn2+ metalloenzyme with lecithinase and sphingomyelinase activities. Its three dimensional structure shows two domains, an N-terminal domain which contains the active site, and a C-terminal domain required for the Ca2+dependent interaction with membranes. Cp-PLC displays several biological activities: it increases capillary permeability, induces platelet aggregation, hemolysis, myonecrosis, decreases cardiac contractility, and is lethal. Experiments with genetically engineered Cp-PLC variants have revealed that the sphingomyelinase activity and the C-terminal domain are required for toxicity. The myotoxicity of Cp-PLC is largely dependent on its membrane damaging effect. In addition, it has been suggested that the alterations in the blood flow induced by this toxin also contribute to muscle damage. In gas gangrene, Cp-PLC dysregulates transduction pathways in endothelial cells, platelets and neutrophils leading to the uncontrolled production of several intercellular mediators and adhesion molecules. Thus, Cp-PLC alters the traffic of neutrophils to the infected tissue and promotes thrombotic events, enhancing the conditions for anaerobic growth.Toxicon 01/2004; 42(8):979-86. · 2.51 Impact Factor