Skewed genomic variability in strains of the toxigenic bacterial pathogen, Clostridium perfringens

Garry S A Myers, David A. Rasko, Jackie K. Cheung, Jacques Ravel, Rekha Seshadri, Robert T. DeBoy, Qinghu Ren, John Varga, Milena M. Awad, Lauren M. Brinkac, Sean C. Daugherty, Daniel H. Haft, Robert J. Dodson, Ramana Madupu, William C. Nelson, M. J. Rosovitz, Steven A. Sullivan, Hoda Khouri, George I. Dimitrov, Kisha L. WatkinsStephanie Mulligan, Jonathan Benton, Diana Radune, Derek J. Fisher, Helen S. Atkins, Tom Hiscox, B. Helen Jost, Stephen J. Billington, J. Glenn Songer, Bruce A. McClane, Richard W. Titball, Julian I. Rood, Stephen B. Melville, Ian T. Paulsen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

210 Citations (Scopus)


Clostridium perfringens is a Gram-positive, anaerobic spore-forming bacterium commonly found in soil, sediments, and the human gastrointestinal tract. C. perfringens is responsible for a wide spectrum of disease, including food poisoning, gas gangrene (clostridial myonecrosis), enteritis necroticans, and non-foodborne gastrointestinal infections. The complete genome sequences of Clostridium perfringens strain ATCC 13124, a gas gangrene isolate and the species type strain, and the enterotoxin-producing food poisoning strain SM101, were determined and compared with the published C. perfringens strain 13 genome. Comparison of the three genomes revealed considerable genomic diversity with >300 unique "genomic islands" identified, with the majority of these islands unusually clustered on one replichore. PCR-based analysis indicated that the large genomic islands are widely variable across a large collection of C. perfringens strains. These islands encode genes that correlate to differences in virulence and phenotypic characteristics of these strains. Significant differences between the strains include numerous novel mobile elements and genes encoding metabolic capabilities, strain-specific extracellular polysaccharide capsule, sporulation factors, toxins, and other secreted enzymes, providing substantial insight into this medically important bacterial pathogen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1031-1040
Number of pages10
JournalGenome Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Skewed genomic variability in strains of the toxigenic bacterial pathogen, Clostridium perfringens'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this