The genome sequence of Clostridium tetani, the causative agent of tetanus disease.
ABSTRACT: Tetanus disease is one of the most dramatic and globally prevalent diseases of humans and vertebrate animals, and has been reported for over 24 centuries. The manifestation of the disease, spastic paralysis, is caused by the second most poisonous substance known, the tetanus toxin, with a human lethal dose of approximately 1 ng/kg. Fortunately, this disease is successfully controlled through immunization with tetanus toxoid; nevertheless, according to the World Health Organization, an estimated 400,000 cases still occur each year, mainly of neonatal tetanus. The causative agent of tetanus disease is Clostridium tetani, an anaerobic spore-forming bacterium, whose natural habitat is soil, dust, and intestinal tracts of various animals. Here we report the complete genome sequence of toxigenic C. tetani E88, a variant of strain Massachusetts. The genome consists of a 2,799,250-bp chromosome encoding 2,372 ORFs. The tetanus toxin and a collagenase are encoded on a 74,082-bp plasmid, containing 61 ORFs. Additional virulence-related factors could be identified, such as an array of surface-layer and adhesion proteins (35 ORFs), some of them unique to C. tetani. Comparative genomics with the genomes of Clostridium perfringens, the causative agent of gas gangrene, and Clostridium acetobutylicum, a nonpathogenic solvent producer, revealed a remarkable capacity of C. tetani: The organism can rely on an extensive sodium ion bioenergetics. Additional candidate genes involved in the establishment and maintenance of a pathogenic lifestyle of C. tetani are presented.
Project description:The polar lipids of the anaerobic bacterium Clostridium tetani, the causative agent of tetanus, have been examined by two-dimensional thin layer chromatography, ESI mass spectrometry, and NMR spectroscopy. Plasmalogen and di- and tetra-acylated species of phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylglycerol, cardiolipin, and N-acetylglucosaminyl diradylglycerol were the major lipids present in most strains examined except for strain ATCC 10779, the parent of strain E88, the first C. tetani strain to have its genome sequenced. This strain contained the same di- and tetra-acylated species but did not contain plasmalogens. All strains contained a novel derivative of N-acetylglucosaminyl diradylglycerol in which a phosphoethanolamine unit is attached to the 6'-position of the sugar, as judged by selective 31P-decoupled, 1H-detected NMR difference spectroscopy. The N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) residue is presumably linked to the 3-positon of the diradylglycerol moiety, and it has the beta-anomeric configuration. Very little plasmalogen component was detected by mass spectrometry in the precursors phosphatidic acid and phosphatidylserine, consistent with the idea that plasmalogens are formed from diacylated phospholipids at a late stage of phospholipid assembly in anaerobic clostridia.
Project description:Clostridium tetani is the etiological agent of tetanus, a life-threatening bacterial infection. The most efficient protection strategy against tetanus is a vaccination with the C. tetani neurotoxin, which is inactivated by formaldehyde-crosslinking. Since we assumed that besides the tetanus toxin, other proteins of C. tetani may also be present in toxoid preparations, we analyzed commercially available vaccines from different countries in respect to their protein content using mass spectrometry. In total 991 proteins could be identified in all five analyzed vaccines, 206 proteins were common in all analyzed vaccines and 54 proteins from the 206 proteins were potential antigens. The additionally present proteins may contribute at least partially to protection against C. tetani infection by supporting the function of the vaccine against the devastating effects of the tetanus toxin indirectly. Two different label-free protein quantification methods were applied for an estimation of protein contents. Similar results were obtained with a Total Protein Approach (TPA)-based method and Protein Discoverer 2.2 software package based on the minora algorithm. Depending on the tetanus toxoid vaccine and the quantification method used, tetanus neurotoxin contributes between 14 and 76 % to the total C. tetani protein content and varying numbers of other C. tetani proteins were detected.
Project description:Clostridium tetani produces a potent neurotoxin, the tetanus toxin (TeNT), which is responsible for an often-fatal neurological disease (tetanus) characterized by spastic paralysis. Prevention is efficiently acquired by vaccination with the TeNT toxoid, which is obtained by C. tetani fermentation and subsequent purification and chemical inactivation. C. tetani synthesizes TeNT in a regulated manner. Indeed, the TeNT gene (tent) is mainly expressed in the late exponential and early stationary growth phases. The gene tetR (tetanus regulatory gene), located immediately upstream of tent, encodes an alternative sigma factor which was previously identified as a positive regulator of tent. In addition, the genome of C. tetani encodes more than 127 putative regulators, including 30 two-component systems (TCSs). Here, we investigated the impact of 12 regulators on TeNT synthesis which were selected based on their homology with related regulatory elements involved in toxin production in other clostridial species. Among nine TCSs tested, three of them impact TeNT production, including two positive regulators that indirectly stimulate tent and tetR transcription. One negative regulator was identified that interacts with both tent and tetR promoters. Two other TCSs showed a moderate effect: one binds to the tent promoter and weakly increases the extracellular TeNT level, and another one has a weak inverse effect. In addition, CodY (control of dciA (decoyinine induced operon) Y) but not Spo0A (sporulation stage 0) or the DNA repair protein Mfd (mutation frequency decline) positively controls TeNT synthesis by interacting with the tent promoter. Moreover, we found that inorganic phosphate and carbonate are among the environmental factors that control TeNT production. Our data show that TeNT synthesis is under the control of a complex network of regulators that are largely distinct from those involved in the control of toxin production in Clostridium botulinum or Clostridium difficile.
Project description:We used RNA-seq to determine Clostridium tetani gene expression changes in response to culture conditions and time. Changes in response to time were more pronounced than those in response to culture conditions. The tetanus toxin gene is always highly expressed but does show expression changes between culture conditions. These results may become part of an approach to reduce animal testing during vaccine manufacturing. Overall design: 39 samples, comprising 6 growth conditions and 5 time points, with some replicates.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Clostridium tetani and Clostridium perfringens are among the medically important clostridial pathogens causing diseases in man and animals. Several homologous open reading frames (ORFs) have been identified in the genomes of the two pathogens by comparative genomic analysis. We tested a likelihood of extensive sharing of common epitopes between homologous proteins of these two medically important pathogens and the possibility of cross-protection using active immunization.<h4>Results</h4>Eight predominant cross-reactive spots were identified by mass spectrometry and had hits in the C. tetani E88 proteome with significant MOWSE scores. Most of the cross-reactive proteins of C. tetani shared 65-78% sequence similarity with their closest homologues in C. perfringens ATCC13124. Electron transfer flavoprotein beta-subunit (CT3) was the most abundant protein (43.3%), followed by methylaspartate ammonia-lyase (36.8%) and 2-phosphoglycerate dehydratase (35.6%). All the proteins were predicted to be cytoplasmic by PSORT protein localization algorithm. Active immunization with C. perfringens whole cells elicited cross-protective immunity against C. tetani infection in a mouse model.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Most of the dominant cross-reactive proteins of C. tetani belonged to the cluster of orthologous group (COG) functional category, either of posttranslational modification, protein turnover, and chaperones (O) or energy production and conversion (C). The homologs of the identified proteins have been shown to play role in pathogenesis in other Gram-positive pathogenic bacteria. Our findings provide basis for the search of potential vaccine candidates with broader coverage, encompassing more than one pathogenic clostridial species.
Project description:We sequenced the genome of a Clostridium tetani strain that caused chronic tibial osteitis without any clinical sign of tetanus in a 26-year-old man previously vaccinated against this disease. The genome contained a plasmid that harboured the tetX-tetR tetanospasmin operon, and was highly similar to that of a tetanus-causing strain.
Project description:Clostridium tetani produces a potent neurotoxin, the tetanus neurotoxin (TeNT) that is responsible for the worldwide neurological disease tetanus, but which can be efficiently prevented by vaccination with tetanus toxoid. Until now only one type of TeNT has been characterized and very little information exists about the heterogeneity among C. tetani strains. We report here the genome sequences of 26?C. tetani strains, isolated between 1949 and 2017 and obtained from different locations. Genome analyses revealed that the C. tetani population is distributed in two phylogenetic clades, a major and a minor one, with no evidence for clade separation based on geographical origin or time of isolation. The chromosome of C. tetani is highly conserved; in contrast, the TeNT-encoding plasmid shows substantial heterogeneity. TeNT itself is highly conserved among all strains; the most relevant difference is an insertion of four amino acids in the C-terminal receptor-binding domain in four strains that might impact on receptor-binding properties. Other putative virulence factors, including tetanolysin and collagenase, are encoded in all genomes. This study highlights the population structure of C. tetani and suggests that tetanus-causing strains did not undergo extensive evolutionary diversification, as judged from the high conservation of its main virulence factors.
Project description:Clostridium tetani and Clostridium botulinum produce two of the most potent neurotoxins known, tetanus neurotoxin and botulinum neurotoxin, respectively. Extensive biochemical and genetic investigation has been devoted to identifying and characterizing various C. botulinum strains. Less effort has been focused on studying C. tetani likely because recently sequenced strains of C. tetani show much less genetic diversity than C. botulinum strains and because widespread vaccination efforts have reduced the public health threat from tetanus. Our aim was to acquire genomic data on the U.S. vaccine strain of C. tetani to better understand its genetic relationship to previously published genomic data from European vaccine strains. We performed high throughput genomic sequence analysis on two wild-type and two vaccine C. tetani strains. Comparative genomic analysis was performed using these and previously published genomic data for seven other C. tetani strains. Our analysis focused on single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) and four distinct constituents of the mobile genome (mobilome): a hypervariable flagellar glycosylation island region, five conserved bacteriophage insertion regions, variations in three CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats)-Cas (CRISPR-associated) systems, and a single plasmid. Intact type IA and IB CRISPR/Cas systems were within 10 of 11 strains. A type IIIA CRISPR/Cas system was present in two strains. Phage infection histories derived from CRISPR-Cas sequences indicate C. tetani encounters phages common among commensal gut bacteria and soil-borne organisms consistent with C. tetani distribution in nature. All vaccine strains form a clade distinct from currently sequenced wild type strains when considering variations in these mobile elements. SNP, flagellar glycosylation island, prophage content and CRISPR/Cas phylogenic histories provide tentative evidence suggesting vaccine and wild type strains share a common ancestor.
Project description:The TetR gene immediately upstream from the tetanus toxin (TeTx) gene was characterized. It encodes a 21,562-Da protein which is related (50 to 65% identity) to the equivalent genes (botR) in Clostridium botulinum. TetR has the feature of a DNA binding protein with a basic pI (9.53). It contains a helix-turn-helix motif and shows 29% identity with other putative regulatory genes in Clostridium, i.e., uviA from C. perfringens and txeR from C. difficile. We report for the first time the transformation of C. tetani by electroporation, which permitted us to investigate the function of tetR. Overexpression of tetR in C. tetani induced an increase in TeTx production and in the level of the corresponding mRNA. This indicates that TetR is a transcriptional activator of the TeTx gene. Overexpression of botR/A (60% identity with TetR at the amino acid level) in C. tetani induced an increase in TeTx production comparable to that for overexpression of tetR. However, botR/C (50% identity with TetR at the amino acid level) was less efficient. This supports that TetR positively regulates the TeTx gene in C. tetani and that a conserved mechanism of regulation of the neurotoxin genes is involved in C. tetani and C. botulinum.
Project description:d-Arabinose-5-phosphate (A5P) isomerases (APIs) catalyze the interconversion of d-ribulose-5-phosphate and d-arabinose-5-phosphate. Various Gram-negative bacteria, such as the uropathogenic Escherichia coli strain CFT073, contain multiple API paralogs (KdsD, GutQ, KpsF, and c3406) that have been assigned various cellular functions. The d-arabinose-5-phosphate formed by these enzymes seems to play important roles in the biosynthesis of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and group 2 K-antigen capsules, as well as in the regulation of the cellular d-glucitol uptake and uropathogenic infectivity/virulence. The genome of a Gram-positive pathogenic bacterium, Clostridium tetani, contains a gene encoding a putative API, C. tetani API (CtAPI), even though C. tetani lacks both LPS and capsid biosynthetic genes. To better understand the physiological role of d-arabinose-5-phosphate in this Gram-positive organism, recombinant CtAPI was purified and characterized. CtAPI displays biochemical characteristics similar to those of APIs from Gram-negative organisms and complements the API deficiency of an E. coli API knockout strain. Thus, CtAPI represents the first d-arabinose-5-phosphate isomerase to be identified and characterized from a Gram-positive bacterium.IMPORTANCE The genome of Clostridium tetani, a pathogenic Gram-positive bacterium and the causative agent of tetanus, contains a gene (the CtAPI gene) that shares high sequence similarity with those of genes encoding d-arabinose-5-phosphate isomerases. APIs play an important role within Gram-negative bacteria in d-arabinose-5-phosphate production for lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis, capsule formation, and regulation of cellular d-glucitol uptake. The significance of our research is in identifying and characterizing CtAPI, the first Gram-positive API. Our findings show that CtAPI is specific to the interconversion of arabinose-5-phosphate and ribulose-5-phosphate while having no activity with the other sugars and sugar phosphates tested. We have speculated a regulatory role for this API in C. tetani, an organism that does not produce lipopolysaccharide.