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PloS one

Organization of the cpe locus in CPE-positive clostridium perfringens type C and D isolates.


PMID 20532170

Abstract

Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin (encoded by the cpe gene) contributes to several important human, and possibly veterinary, enteric diseases. The current study investigated whether cpe locus organization in type C or D isolates resembles one of the three (one chromosomal and two plasmid-borne) cpe loci commonly found amongst type A isolates. Multiplex PCR assays capable of detecting sequences in those type A cpe loci failed to amplify products from cpe-positive type C and D isolates, indicating these isolates possess different cpe locus arrangements. Therefore, restriction fragments containing the cpe gene were cloned and sequenced from two type C isolates and one type D isolate. The obtained cpe locus sequences were then used to construct an overlapping PCR assay to assess cpe locus diversity amongst other cpe-positive type C and D isolates. All seven surveyed cpe-positive type C isolates had a plasmid-borne cpe locus partially resembling the cpe locus of type A isolates carrying a chromosomal cpe gene. In contrast, all eight type D isolates shared the same plasmid-borne cpe locus, which differed substantially from the cpe locus present in other C. perfringens by containing two copies of an ORF with 67% identity to a transposase gene (COG4644) found in Tn1546, but not previously associated with the cpe gene. These results identify greater diversity amongst cpe locus organization than previously appreciated, providing new insights into cpe locus evolution. Finally, evidence for cpe gene mobilization was found for both type C and D isolates, which could explain their cpe plasmid diversity.

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