[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Avian necrotic enteritis is a major economic and welfare issue throughout the global poultry industry and is caused by isolates of Clostridium perfringens that produce NetB toxin. Previously we have shown that birds directly vaccinated with inactivated C. perfringens type A culture supernatant (toxoid) combined with recombinant NetB (rNetB) protein were significantly protected from homologous and heterologous challenge. In the present study the protective effect of maternal immunization was examined. Broiler breeder hens were injected subcutaneously with genetically toxoided rNetB(S254L) alone, C. perfringens type A toxoid and toxoid combined with rNetB(S254L). Vaccination resulted in a strong serum immunoglobulin Y response to NetB in hens immunized with rNetB(S254L) formulations. Anti-NetB antibodies were transferred to the eggs and on into the hatched progeny. Subclinical necrotic enteritis was induced experimentally in the progeny and the occurrence of specific necrotic enteritis lesions evaluated. Birds derived from hens immunized with rNetB(S254L) combined with toxoid and challenged with a homologous strain (EHE-NE18) at either 14 or 21 days post-hatch had significantly lower levels of disease compared to birds from adjuvant only vaccinated hens. In addition, birds from hens immunized with rNetB(S254L) alone were significantly protected when challenged at 14 days post-hatch. These results demonstrate that maternal immunization with a NetB-enhanced toxoid vaccine is a promising method for the control of necrotic enteritis in young broiler chickens.
Veterinary Research 11/2013; 44(1):108. · 3.43 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: NetB toxin from Clostridium perfringens is a major virulence factor in necrotic enteritis in poultry. In this study the efficacy of NetB as a vaccine antigen to protect chickens from necrotic enteritis was examined. Broiler chickens were immunized subcutaneously with purified recombinant NetB (rNetB), formalin treated bacterin and cell free toxoid with or without rNetB supplementation. Intestinal lesion scores and NetB antibody levels were measured to determine protection after mild oral gavage, moderate in-feed and heavy in-feed challenges with virulent C. perfringens isolates. Birds immunized with rNetB were significantly protected against necrotic enteritis when challenged with a mild oral dose of virulent bacteria, but were not protected when a more robust challenge was used. Bacterin and cell free toxoid without rNetB supplementation did not protect birds from moderate and severe in-feed challenge. Only birds immunized with bacterin and cell free toxoid supplemented with rNetB showed significant protection against moderate and severe in-feed challenge, with the later giving the greatest protection. Higher NetB antibody titres were observed in birds immunized with rNetB compared to those vaccinated with bacterin or toxoid, suggesting that the in vitro levels of NetB produced by virulent C. perfringens isolates are too low to induce the development of a strong immune response. These results suggest that vaccination with NetB alone may not be sufficient to protect birds from necrotic enteritis in the field, but that in combination with other cellular or cell-free antigens it can significantly protect chickens from disease.
Veterinary Research 07/2013; 44(1):54. · 3.43 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] 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.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Clostridium perfringens type D causes disease in sheep, goats and other ruminants. Type D isolates produce, at minimum, alpha and epsilon (ETX) toxins but some express up to five different toxins, raising questions about which toxins are necessary for the virulence of these bacteria. We evaluated the contribution of ETX to C. perfringens type D pathogenicity in an intraduodenal challenge model in sheep, goats and mice using a virulent C. perfringens type D wild type strain (WT), an isogenic ETX null mutant (etx mutant) and a strain where the etx mutation has been reversed (etx complemented). All sheep and goats, and most mice, challenged with the WT isolate developed acute clinical disease followed by death in most cases. Sheep developed varying gross and/or histological changes that included edema of brain, lungs and heart, and hydropericardium. Goats developed varying effects that included necrotizing colitis, pulmonary edema and hydropericardium. No significant gross or histological abnormalities were observed in any mice infected with the WT strain. All sheep, goats and mice challenged with the isogenic etx mutant remained clinically healthy for ≥ 24 h, and no gross or histological abnormalities were observed in those animals. Complementation of etx KO restored virulence; most goats, sheep and mice receiving this complemented mutant developed clinical and pathological changes similar to those observed in WT-infected animals. These results indicate that ETX is necessary for type D isolates to induce disease, supporting a key role for this toxin in type D disease pathogenesis.
Infection and immunity 04/2013; · 4.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Clostridium perfringens is ubiquitous in nature and is often found as a commensal of the human and animal gastrointestinal tract. It is the primary etiological agent of clostridial myonecrosis, or gas gangrene, a serious infection that results in extensive tissue necrosis due to the action of one or more potent extracellular toxins. α-toxin and perfringolysin O are the major extracellular toxins involved in the pathogenesis of gas gangrene, but histotoxic strains of C. perfringens, such as strain 13, also produce many degradative enzymes such as collagenases, hyaluronidases, sialidases and the cysteine protease, α-clostripain. The production of many of these toxins is regulated either directly or indirectly by the global VirSR two-component signal transduction system. By isolating a chromosomal mutant and carrying out microarray analysis we have identified an orphan sensor histidine kinase, which we have named ReeS (regulator of extracellular enzymes sensor). Expression of the sialidase genes nanI and nanJ was down-regulated in a reeS mutant. Since complementation with the wild-type reeS gene restored nanI and nanJ expression to wild-type levels, as shown by quantitative reverse transcription-PCR and sialidase assays we concluded that ReeS positively regulates the expression of these sialidase genes. However, mutation of the reeS gene had no significant effect on virulence in the mouse myonecrosis model. Sialidase production in C. perfringens has been previously shown to be regulated by both the VirSR system and RevR. In this report, we have analyzed a previously unknown sensor histidine kinase, ReeS, and have shown that it also is involved in controlling the expression of sialidase genes, adding further complexity to the regulatory network that controls sialidase production in C. perfringens.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(9):e73525. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Clostridium difficile is an important pathogen of humans and animals, representing a significant global healthcare problem. The last decade has seen the emergence of epidemic BI/NAP1/027 and ribotype 078 isolates, associated with the onset of more severe disease and higher rates of morbidity and mortality. However, little is known about these isolates at the molecular level, partly due to difficulties in the genetic manipulation of these strains. Here we report the development of an optimised Tn916-mediated plasmid transfer system, and the use of this system to construct and complement spo0A mutants in a number of different C. difficile strain backgrounds. Spo0A is a global regulator known to control sporulation, but may also be involved in the regulation of potential virulence factors and other phenotypes. Recent studies have failed to elucidate the role of Spo0A in toxin A and toxin B production by C. difficile, with conflicting data published to date. In this study, we aimed to clarify the role of Spo0A in production of the major toxins by C. difficile. Through the construction and complementation of spo0A mutants in two ribotype 027 isolates, we demonstrate that Spo0A acts as a negative regulator of toxin A and toxin B production in this strain background. In addition, spo0A was disrupted and subsequently complemented in strain 630Δerm and, for the first time, in a ribotype 078 isolate, JGS6133. In contrast to the ribotype 027 strains, Spo0A does not appear to regulate toxin production in strain 630Δerm. In strain JGS6133, Spo0A appears to negatively regulate toxin production during early stationary phase, but has little effect on toxin expression during late stationary phase. These data suggest that Spo0A may differentially regulate toxin production in phylogenetically distinct C. difficile strain types. In addition, Spo0A may be involved in regulating some aspects of C. difficile motility.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(11):e79666. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT Clostridium perfringens is an anaerobic bacterium that causes numerous important human and animal diseases, primarily as a result of its ability to produce many different protein toxins. In chickens, C. perfringens causes necrotic enteritis, a disease of economic importance to the worldwide poultry industry. The secreted pore-forming toxin NetB is a key virulence factor in the pathogenesis of avian necrotic enteritis and is similar to alpha-hemolysin, a β-barrel pore-forming toxin from Staphylococcus aureus. To address the molecular mechanisms underlying NetB-mediated tissue damage, we determined the crystal structure of the monomeric form of NetB to 1.8 Å. Structural comparisons with other members of the alpha-hemolysin family revealed significant differences in the conformation of the membrane binding domain. These data suggested that NetB may recognize different membrane receptors or use a different mechanism for membrane-protein interactions. Consistent with this idea, electrophysiological experiments with planar lipid bilayers revealed that NetB formed pores with much larger single-channel conductance than alpha-hemolysin. Channel conductance varied with phospholipid net charge. Furthermore, NetB differed in its ion selectivity, preferring cations over anions. Using hemolysis as a screen, we carried out a random-mutagenesis study that identified several residues that are critical for NetB-induced cell lysis. Mapping of these residues onto the crystal structure revealed that they were clustered in regions predicted to be required for oligomerization or membrane binding. Together these data provide an insight into the mechanism of NetB-mediated pore formation and will contribute to our understanding of the mode of action of this important toxin. IMPORTANCE Necrotic enteritis is an economically important disease of the worldwide poultry industry and is mediated by Clostridium perfringens strains that produce NetB, a β-pore-forming toxin. We carried out structural and functional studies of NetB to provide a mechanistic insight into its mode of action and to assist in the development of a necrotic enteritis vaccine. We determined the structure of the monomeric form of NetB to 1.8 Å, used both site-directed and random mutagenesis to identify key residues that are required for its biological activity, and analyzed pore formation by NetB and its substitution-containing derivatives in planar lipid bilayers.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Peptidoglycan hydrolases that are specifically associated with bacterial conjugation systems are postulated to facilitate the assembly of the transfer apparatus by creating a temporally and spatially controlled local opening in the peptidoglycan layer. To date little is known about the role of such enzymes in conjugation systems from Gram-positive bacteria. Conjugative plasmids from the Gram-positive pathogen Clostridium perfringens all encode two putative peptidoglycan hydrolases, TcpG and TcpI, within the conserved tcp transfer locus. Mutation and complementation analysis was used to demonstrate that a functional tcpG gene, but not the tcpI gene, was required for efficient conjugative transfer of pCW3. Furthermore, it was also shown that each of the two predicted catalytic domains of TcpG was functional in C. perfringens and that the predicted catalytic site residues, E-111, D-136, and C-238, present within these functional domains were required for optimal TcpG function. Escherichia coli cells producing TcpG demonstrated a distinctive autoagglutination phenotype and partially purified recombinant TcpG protein was shown to have peptidoglycan hydrolase-like activity on cognate peptidoglycan from C. perfringens. Based on these results it is suggested that TcpG is a functional peptidoglycan hydrolase that is required for efficient conjugative transfer of pCW3, presumably by facilitating the penetration of the pCW3 translocation complex through the cell wall.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dichelobacter nodosus is the principal causative agent of ovine footrot and its extracellular proteases are major virulence factors. Virulent isolates of D. nodosus secrete three subtilisin-like serine proteases: AprV2, AprV5 and BprV. These enzymes are each synthesized as precursor molecules that include a signal (pre-) peptide, a pro-peptide and a C-terminal extension, which are processed to produce the mature active forms. The function of the C-terminal regions of these proteases and the mechanism of protease processing and secretion are unknown. AprV5 contributes to most of the protease activity secreted by D. nodosus. To understand the role of the C-terminal extension of AprV5, we constructed a series of C-terminal-deletion mutants in D. nodosus by allelic exchange. The proteases present in the resultant mutants and their complemented derivatives were examined by protease zymogram analysis, western blotting and mass spectrometry. The results showed that the C-terminal region of AprV5 is required for the normal expression of protease activity, deletion of this region led to a delay in the processing of these enzymes. D. nodosus is an unusual bacterium in that it produces three closely related extracellular serine proteases. We have now shown that one of these enzymes, AprV5, is responsible for its own maturation, and for the optimal cleavage of AprV2 and BprV, to their mature active forms. These studies have increased our understanding of how this important pathogen processes these virulence-associated extracellular proteases and secretes them into its external environment.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(10):e47932. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bacterial conjugation is important for the acquisition of virulence and antibiotic resistance genes. We investigated the mechanism of conjugation in Gram-positive pathogens using a model plasmid pCW3 from Clostridium perfringens. pCW3 encodes tetracycline resistance and contains the tcp locus, which is essential for conjugation. We showed that the unique TcpC protein (359 amino acids, 41 kDa) was required for efficient conjugative transfer, localized to the cell membrane independently of other conjugation proteins, and that membrane localization was important for its function, oligomerization and interaction with the conjugation proteins TcpA, TcpH and TcpG. The crystal structure of the C-terminal component of TcpC (TcpC(99-359)) was determined to 1.8-Å resolution. TcpC(99-359) contained two NTF2-like domains separated by a short linker. Unexpectedly, comparative structural analysis showed that each of these domains was structurally homologous to the periplasmic region of VirB8, a component of the type IV secretion system from Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Bacterial two-hybrid studies revealed that the C-terminal domain was critical for interactions with other conjugation proteins. The N-terminal region of TcpC was required for efficient conjugation, oligomerization and protein-protein interactions. We conclude that by forming oligomeric complexes, TcpC contributes to the stability and integrity of the conjugation apparatus, facilitating efficient pCW3 transfer.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ovine footrot pathogen, Dichelobacter nodosus, secretes three subtilisin-like proteases that play an important role in the pathogenesis of footrot through their ability to mediate tissue destruction. Virulent and benign strains of D. nodosus secrete the basic proteases BprV and BprB, respectively, with the catalytic domain of these enzymes having 96% sequence identity. At present, it is not known how sequence variation between these two putative virulence factors influences their respective biological activity. We have determined the high resolution crystal structures of BprV and BprB. These data reveal that that the S1 pocket of BprV is more hydrophobic but smaller than that of BprB. We show that BprV is more effective than BprB in degrading extracellular matrix components of the host tissue. Mutation of two residues around the S1 pocket of BprB to the equivalent residues in BprV dramatically enhanced its proteolytic activity against elastin substrates. Application of a novel approach for profiling substrate specificity, the Rapid Endopeptidase Profiling Library (REPLi) method, revealed that both enzymes prefer cleaving after hydrophobic residues (and in particular P1 leucine) but that BprV has more restricted primary substrate specificity than BprB. Furthermore, for P1 Leu-containing substrates we found that BprV is a significantly more efficient enzyme than BprB. Collectively, these data illuminate how subtle changes in D. nodosus proteases may significantly influence tissue destruction as part of the ovine footrot pathogenesis process.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2011; 286(49):42180-7. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During the past decade, there has been a striking increase in Clostridium difficile nosocomial infections worldwide predominantly due to the emergence of epidemic or hypervirulent isolates, leading to an increased research focus on this bacterium. Particular interest has surrounded the two large clostridial toxins encoded by most virulent isolates, known as toxin A and toxin B. Toxin A was thought to be the major virulence factor for many years; however, it is becoming increasingly evident that toxin B plays a much more important role than anticipated. It is clear that further experiments are required to accurately determine the relative roles of each toxin in disease, especially in more clinically relevant current epidemic isolates.
Trends in Microbiology 12/2011; 20(1):21-9. · 8.43 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nosocomial infections are increasingly being recognised as a major patient safety issue. The modern hospital environment and associated health care practices have provided a niche for the rapid evolution of microbial pathogens that are well adapted to surviving and proliferating in this setting, after which they can infect susceptible patients. This is clearly the case for bacterial pathogens such as Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Vancomycin Resistant Enterococcus (VRE) species, both of which have acquired resistance to antimicrobial agents as well as enhanced survival and virulence properties that present serious therapeutic dilemmas for treating physicians. It has recently become apparent that the spore-forming bacterium Clostridium difficile also falls within this category. Since 2000, there has been a striking increase in C. difficile nosocomial infections worldwide, predominantly due to the emergence of epidemic or hypervirulent isolates that appear to possess extended antibiotic resistance and virulence properties. Various hypotheses have been proposed for the emergence of these strains, and for their persistence and increased virulence, but supportive experimental data are lacking. Here we describe a genetic approach using isogenic strains to identify a factor linked to the development of hypervirulence in C. difficile. This study provides evidence that a naturally occurring mutation in a negative regulator of toxin production, the anti-sigma factor TcdC, is an important factor in the development of hypervirulence in epidemic C. difficile isolates, presumably because the mutation leads to significantly increased toxin production, a contentious hypothesis until now. These results have important implications for C. difficile pathogenesis and virulence since they suggest that strains carrying a similar mutation have the inherent potential to develop a hypervirulent phenotype.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ovine footrot is a contagious and debilitating disease that is of major economic significance to the sheep meat and wool industries. The causative bacterium is the gram negative anaerobe Dichelobacter nodosus. Research that has used a classical molecular genetics approach has led to major advances in our understanding of the role of the key virulence factors of D. nodosus in the disease process. D. nodosus strains produce polar type IV fimbriae and extracellular serine proteases. Mutagenesis of the fimbrial subunit gene fimA and the pilT gene, which is required for fimbrial retraction, and subsequent testing of these mutants in sheep virulence trials has shown that type IV fimbriae-mediated twitching motility is essential for virulence. The extracellular protease genes aprV2, aprV5 and bprV have also been mutated. Analysis of these mutants has shown that ArpV5 is the major extracellular protease and that AprV2 is the thermostable protease that is responsible for the extracellular elastase activity. Structural analysis of AprV2 has revealed that it contains several novel loops, one of which appears to act as an exosite that may modulate substrate accessibility. Finally, virulence experiments in sheep have shown that the AprV2 protease is required for virulence.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Clostridium sordellii is an important pathogen of humans and animals, causing a range of diseases, including myonecrosis, sepsis, and shock. Although relatively rare in humans, the incidence of disease is increasing, and it is associated with high mortality rates, approaching 70%. Currently, very little is known about the pathogenesis of C. sordellii infections or disease. Previous work suggested that the lethal large clostridial glucosylating toxin TcsL is the major virulence factor, but a lack of genetic tools has hindered our ability to conclusively assign a role for TcsL or, indeed, any of the other putative virulence factors produced by this organism. In this study, we have developed methods for the introduction of plasmids into C. sordellii using RP4-mediated conjugation from Escherichia coli and have successfully used these techniques to insertionally inactivate the tcsL gene in the reference strain ATCC 9714, using targetron technology. Virulence testing revealed that the production of TcsL is essential for the development of lethal infections by C. sordellii ATCC 9714 and also contributes significantly to edema seen during uterine infection. This study represents the first definitive identification of a virulence factor in C. sordellii and opens the way for in-depth studies of this important human pathogen at the molecular level.
Infection and immunity 03/2011; 79(3):1025-32. · 4.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Clostridium perfringens causes clostridial myonecrosis or gas gangrene and produces several extracellular hydrolytic enzymes and toxins, many of which are regulated by the VirSR signal transduction system. The revR gene encodes a putative orphan response regulator that has similarity to the YycF (WalR), VicR, PhoB, and PhoP proteins from other Gram-positive bacteria. RevR appears to be a classical response regulator, with an N-terminal receiver domain and a C-terminal domain with a putative winged helix-turn-helix DNA binding region. To determine its functional role, a revR mutant was constructed by allelic exchange and compared to the wild type by microarray analysis. The results showed that more than 100 genes were differentially expressed in the mutant, including several genes involved in cell wall metabolism. The revR mutant had an altered cellular morphology; unlike the short rods observed with the wild type, the mutant cells formed long filaments. These changes were reversed upon complementation with a plasmid that carried the wild-type revR gene. Several genes encoding extracellular hydrolytic enzymes (sialidase, hyaluronidase, and α-clostripain) were differentially expressed in the revR mutant. Quantitative enzyme assays confirmed that these changes led to altered enzyme activity and that complementation restored the wild-type phenotype. Most importantly, the revR mutant was attenuated for virulence in the mouse myonecrosis model compared to the wild type and the complemented strains. These results provide evidence that RevR regulates virulence in C. perfringens; it is the first response regulator other than VirR to be shown to regulate virulence in this important pathogen.
Infection and immunity 03/2011; 79(6):2145-53. · 4.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dichelobacter nodosus, a Gram-negative anaerobic bacterium, is the essential causative agent of footrot in sheep. Currently, depending on the clinical presentation in the field, footrot is described as benign or virulent; D. nodosus strains have also been classified as benign or virulent, but this designation is not always consistent with clinical disease. The aim of this study was to determine the diversity of the pgr gene, which encodes a putative proline-glycine repeat protein (Pgr). The pgr gene was present in all 100 isolates of D. nodosus that were examined and, based on sequence analysis had two variants, pgrA and pgrB. In pgrA, there were two coding tandem repeat regions, R1 and R2: different strains had variable numbers of repeats within these regions. The R1 and R2 were absent from pgrB. Both variants were present in strains from Australia, Sweden and the UK, however, only pgrB was detected in isolates from Western Australia. The pgrA gene was detected in D. nodosus from tissue samples from two flocks in the UK with virulent footrot and only pgrB from a flock with no virulent or benign footrot for >10 years. Bioinformatic analysis of the putative PgrA protein indicated that it contained a collagen-like cell surface anchor motif. These results suggest that the pgr gene may be a useful molecular marker for epidemiological studies.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Clostridium perfringens is the causative agent of clostridial myonecrosis or gas gangrene and produces many different extracellular toxins and enzymes, including the cysteine protease α-clostripain. Mutation of the α-clostripain structural gene, ccp, alters the turnover of secreted extracellular proteins in C. perfringens, but the role of α-clostripain in disease pathogenesis is not known. We insertionally inactivated the ccp gene C. perfringens strain 13 using TargeTron technology, constructing a strain that was no longer proteolytic on skim milk agar. Quantitative protease assays confirmed the absence of extracellular protease activity, which was restored by complementation with the wild-type ccp gene. The role of α-clostripain in virulence was assessed by analysing the isogenic wild-type, mutant and complemented strains in a mouse myonecrosis model. The results showed that although α-clostripain was the major extracellular protease, mutation of the ccp gene did not alter either the progression or the development of disease. These results do not rule out the possibility that this extracellular enzyme may still have a role in the early stages of the disease process.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(7):e22762. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Clostridium perfringens type B and D strains cause enterotoxemias and enteritis in livestock after proliferating in the intestines and producing epsilon-toxin (ETX), alpha-toxin (CPA), and, usually, perfringolysin O (PFO). Although ETX is one of the most potent bacterial toxins, the regulation of ETX production by type B or D strains remains poorly understood. The present work determined that the type D strain CN3718 upregulates production of ETX upon close contact with enterocyte-like Caco-2 cells. This host cell-induced upregulation of ETX expression was mediated at the transcriptional level. Using an isogenic agrB null mutant and complemented strain, the agr operon was shown to be required when CN3718 produces ETX in broth culture or, via a secreted signal consistent with a quorum-sensing (QS) effect, upregulates ETX production upon contact with host cells. These findings provide the first insights into the regulation of ETX production, as well as additional evidence that the Agr-like QS system functions as a global regulator of C. perfringens toxin production. Since it was proposed previously that the Agr-like QS system regulates C. perfringens gene expression via the VirS/VirR two-component regulatory system, an isogenic virR null mutant of CN3718 was constructed to evaluate the importance of VirS/VirR for CN3718 toxin production. This mutation affected production of CPA and PFO, but not ETX, by CN3718. These results provide the first indication that C. perfringens toxin expression regulation by the Agr-like quorum-sensing system may not always act via the VirS/VirR two-component system. IMPORTANCE Mechanisms by which Clostridium perfringens type B and D strains regulate production of epsilon-toxin (ETX), a CDC class B select toxin, are poorly understood. Production of several other toxins expressed by C. perfringens is wholly or partially regulated by both the Agr-like quorum-sensing (QS) system and the VirS/VirR two-component regulatory system, so the present study tested whether ETX expression by type D strain CN3718 also requires these regulatory systems. The agr operon was shown to be essential for signaling CN3718 to produce ETX in broth culture or to upregulate ETX production upon close contact with enterocyte-like Caco-2 cells, which may have pathogenic relevance since ETX is produced intestinally. However, ETX production remained at wild-type levels after inactivation of the VirS/VirR system in CN3718. These findings provide the first information regarding regulation of ETX production and suggest Agr-like QS toxin production regulation in C. perfringens does not always require the VirS/VirR system.