Genetic Diversity of Clostridium sporogenes PA 3679 Isolates Obtained from Different Sources as Resolved by Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis and High-Throughput Sequencing.
ABSTRACT: Clostridium sporogenes PA 3679 is a nonpathogenic, nontoxic model organism for proteolytic Clostridium botulinum used in the validation of conventional thermal food processes due to its ability to produce highly heat-resistant endospores. Because of its public safety importance, the uncertain taxonomic classification and genetic diversity of PA 3679 are concerns. Therefore, isolates of C. sporogenes PA 3679 were obtained from various sources and characterized using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole-genome sequencing. The phylogenetic relatedness and genetic variability were assessed based on 16S rRNA gene sequencing and whole-genome single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis. All C. sporogenes PA 3679 isolates were categorized into two clades (clade I containing ATCC 7955 NCA3679 isolates 1961-2, 1990, and 2007 and clade II containing PA 3679 isolates NFL, UW, FDA, and Campbell and ATCC 7955 NCA3679 isolate 1961-4). The 16S maximum likelihood (ML) tree clustered both clades within proteolytic C. botulinum strains, with clade I forming a distinct cluster with other C. sporogenes non-PA 3679 strains. SNP analysis revealed that clade I isolates were more similar to the genomic reference PA 3679 (NCTC8594) genome (GenBank accession number AGAH00000000.1) than clade II isolates were. The genomic reference C. sporogenes PA 3679 (NCTC8594) genome and clade I C. sporogenes isolates were genetically distinct from those obtained from other sources (University of Wisconsin, National Food Laboratory, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and Campbell's Soup Company). Thermal destruction studies revealed that clade I isolates were more sensitive to high temperature than clade II isolates were. Considering the widespread use of C. sporogenes PA 3679 and its genetic information in numerous studies, the accurate identification and genetic characterization of C. sporogenes PA 3679 are of critical importance.
Project description:Clostridium sporogenes PA 3679 is a non-toxic endospore former that is widely used as a surrogate for Clostridium botulinum by the food processing industry to validate thermal processing strategies. PA 3679 produces spores of exceptionally high heat resistance without botulinum neurotoxins, permitting the use of PA 3679 in inoculated pack studies while ensuring the safety of food processing facilities. To identify genes associated with this heat resistance, the genomes of C. sporogenes PA 3679 isolates were compared to several other C. sporogenes strains. The most significant difference was the acquisition of a second spoVA operon, spoVA2, which is responsible for transport of dipicolinic acid into the spore core during sporulation. Interestingly, spoVA2 was also found in some C. botulinum species which phylogenetically cluster with PA 3679. Most other C. sporogenes strains examined both lack the spoVA2 locus and are phylogenetically distant within the group I Clostridium, adding to the understanding that C. sporogenes are dispersed C. botulinum strains which lack toxin genes. C. sporogenes strains are thus a very eclectic group, and few strains possess the characteristic heat resistance of PA 3679.
Project description:Taxonomic classification of Clostridium botulinum is based on the production of botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT), while closely related, nontoxic organisms are classified as Clostridium sporogenes. However, this taxonomic organization does not accurately mirror phylogenetic relationships between these species. A phylogenetic reconstruction using 2,016 orthologous genes shared among strains of C. botulinum group I and C. sporogenes clearly separated these two species into discrete clades which showed ?93% average nucleotide identity (ANI) between them. Clustering of strains based on the presence of variable orthologs revealed 143 C. sporogenes clade-specific genetic signatures, a subset of which were further evaluated for their ability to correctly classify a panel of presumptive C. sporogenes strains by PCR. Genome sequencing of several C. sporogenes strains lacking these signatures confirmed that they clustered with C. botulinum strains in a core genome phylogenetic tree. Our analysis also identified C. botulinum strains that contained C. sporogenes clade-specific signatures and phylogenetically clustered with C. sporogenes strains. The genome sequences of two bont/B2-containing strains belonging to the C. sporogenes clade contained regions with similarity to a bont-bearing plasmid (pCLD), while two different strains belonging to the C. botulinum clade carried bont/B2 on the chromosome. These results indicate that bont/B2 was likely acquired by C. sporogenes strains through horizontal gene transfer. The genome-based classification of these species used to identify candidate genes for the development of rapid assays for molecular identification may be applicable to additional bacterial species that are challenging with respect to their classification.
Project description:A significant number of genome sequences of Clostridium botulinum and related species have now been determined. In silico analysis of these data revealed the presence of two distinct agr loci (agr-1 and agr-2) in all group I strains, each encoding putative proteins with similarity to AgrB and AgrD of the well-studied Staphylococcus aureus agr quorum sensing system. In S. aureus, a small diffusible autoinducing peptide is generated from AgrD in a membrane-located processing event that requires AgrB. Here the characterization of both agr loci in the group I strain C. botulinum ATCC 3502 and of their homologues in a close relative, Clostridium sporogenes NCIMB 10696, is reported. In C. sporogenes NCIMB 10696, agr-1 and agr-2 appear to form transcriptional units that consist of agrB, agrD, and flanking genes of unknown function. Several of these flanking genes are conserved in Clostridium perfringens. In agreement with their proposed role in quorum sensing, both loci were maximally expressed during late-exponential-phase growth. Modulation of agrB expression in C. sporogenes was achieved using antisense RNA, whereas in C. botulinum, insertional agrD mutants were generated using ClosTron technology. In comparison to the wild-type strains, these strains exhibited drastically reduced sporulation and, for C. botulinum, also reduced production of neurotoxin, suggesting that both phenotypes are controlled by quorum sensing. Interestingly, while agr-1 appeared to control sporulation, agr-2 appeared to regulate neurotoxin formation.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Proteolytic Clostridium botulinum is the causative agent of botulism, a severe neuroparalytic illness. Given the severity of botulism, surprisingly little is known of the population structure, biology, phylogeny or evolution of C. botulinum. The recent determination of the genome sequence of C. botulinum has allowed comparative genomic indexing using a DNA microarray. RESULTS:Whole genome microarray analysis revealed that 63% of the coding sequences (CDSs) present in reference strain ATCC 3502 were common to all 61 widely-representative strains of proteolytic C. botulinum and the closely related C. sporogenes tested. This indicates a relatively stable genome. There was, however, evidence for recombination and genetic exchange, in particular within the neurotoxin gene and cluster (including transfer of neurotoxin genes to C. sporogenes), and the flagellar glycosylation island (FGI). These two loci appear to have evolved independently from each other, and from the remainder of the genetic complement. A number of strains were atypical; for example, while 10 out of 14 strains that formed type A1 toxin gave almost identical profiles in whole genome, neurotoxin cluster and FGI analyses, the other four strains showed divergent properties. Furthermore, a new neurotoxin sub-type (A5) has been discovered in strains from heroin-associated wound botulism cases. For the first time, differences in glycosylation profiles of the flagella could be linked to differences in the gene content of the FGI. CONCLUSION:Proteolytic C. botulinum has a stable genome backbone containing specific regions of genetic heterogeneity. These include the neurotoxin gene cluster and the FGI, each having evolved independently of each other and the remainder of the genetic complement. Analysis of these genetic components provides a high degree of discrimination of strains of proteolytic C. botulinum, and is suitable for clinical and forensic investigations of botulism outbreaks.
Project description:Clostridium botulinum is a dangerous pathogen that forms the highly potent botulinum toxin, which when ingested causes a deadly neuroparalytic disease. The closely related Clostridium sporogenes is occasionally pathogenic, frequently associated with food spoilage and regarded as the non-toxigenic equivalent of Group I C. botulinum. Both species form highly resistant spores that are ubiquitous in the environment and which, under favourable growth conditions germinate to produce vegetative cells. To improve the control of botulinum neurotoxin-forming clostridia, it is imperative to comprehend the mechanisms by which spores germinate. Germination is initiated following the recognition of small molecules (germinants) by a specific germinant receptor (GR) located in the spore inner membrane. The present study precisely defines clostridial GRs, germinants and co-germinants. Group I C. botulinum ATCC3502 contains two tricistronic and one pentacistronic GR operons, while C. sporogenes ATCC15579 has three tricistronic and one tetracistronic GR operons. Insertional knockout mutants, allied with characterisation of recombinant GRs shows for the first time that amino acid stimulated germination in C. botulinum requires two tri-cistronic encoded GRs which act in synergy and cannot function individually. Spore germination in C. sporogenes requires one tri-cistronic GR. Two other GRs form part of a complex involved in controlling the rate of amino-acid stimulated germination. The suitability of using C. sporogenes as a substitute for C. botulinum in germination studies and food challenge tests is discussed.
Project description:Clostridium botulinum Group I and Clostridium sporogenes are closely related bacteria responsible for foodborne, infant and wound botulism. A comparative genomic study with 556 highly diverse strains of C. botulinum Group I and C. sporogenes (including 417 newly sequenced strains) has been carried out to characterise the genetic diversity and spread of these bacteria and their neurotoxin genes. Core genome single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis revealed two major lineages; C. botulinum Group I (most strains possessed botulinum neurotoxin gene(s) of types A, B and/or F) and C. sporogenes (some strains possessed a type B botulinum neurotoxin gene). Both lineages contained strains responsible for foodborne, infant and wound botulism. A new C. sporogenes cluster was identified that included five strains with a gene encoding botulinum neurotoxin sub-type B1. There was significant evidence of horizontal transfer of botulinum neurotoxin genes between distantly related bacteria. Population structure/diversity have been characterised, and novel associations discovered between whole genome lineage, botulinum neurotoxin sub-type variant, epidemiological links to foodborne, infant and wound botulism, and geographic origin. The impact of genomic and physiological variability on the botulism risk has been assessed. The genome sequences are a valuable resource for future research (e.g., pathogen biology, evolution of C. botulinum and its neurotoxin genes, improved pathogen detection and discrimination), and support enhanced risk assessments and the prevention of botulism.
Project description:Diverse members of the genus Clostridium produce botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs), which cause a flaccid paralysis known as botulism. While multiple species of clostridia produce BoNTs, the majority of human botulism cases have been attributed to Clostridium botulinum groups I and II. Recent comparative genomic studies have demonstrated the genomic diversity within these BoNT-producing species. This report introduces a multiplex PCR assay for differentiating members of C. botulinum group I, C. sporogenes, and two major subgroups within C. botulinum group II. Coding region sequences unique to each of the four species/subgroups were identified by in silico analyses of thousands of genome assemblies, and PCR primers were designed to amplify each marker. The resulting multiplex PCR assay correctly assigned 41 tested isolates to the appropriate species or subgroup. A separate PCR assay to determine the presence of the ntnh gene (a gene associated with the botulinum neurotoxin gene cluster) was developed and validated. The ntnh gene PCR assay provides information about the presence or absence of the botulinum neurotoxin gene cluster and the type of gene cluster present (ha positive [ha+] or orfX+). The increased availability of whole-genome sequence data and comparative genomic tools enabled the design of these assays, which provide valuable information for characterizing BoNT-producing clostridia. The PCR assays are rapid, inexpensive tests that can be applied to a variety of sample types to assign isolates to species/subgroups and to detect clostridia with botulinum neurotoxin gene (bont) clusters.IMPORTANCE Diverse clostridia produce the botulinum neurotoxin, one of the most potent known neurotoxins. In this study, a multiplex PCR assay was developed to differentiate clostridia that are most commonly isolated in connection with human botulism cases: C. botulinum group I, C. sporogenes, and two major subgroups within C. botulinum group II. Since BoNT-producing and nontoxigenic isolates can be found in each species, a PCR assay to determine the presence of the ntnh gene, which is a universally present component of bont gene clusters, and to provide information about the type (ha+ or orfX+) of bont gene cluster present in a sample was also developed. The PCR assays provide simple, rapid, and inexpensive tools for screening uncharacterized isolates from clinical or environmental samples. The information provided by these assays can inform epidemiological studies, aid with identifying mixtures of isolates and unknown isolates in culture collections, and confirm the presence of bacteria of interest.
Project description:In France, human botulism is mainly food-borne intoxication, whereas infant botulism is rare. A total of 99 group I and II Clostridium botulinum strains including 59 type A (12 historical isolates [1947-1961], 43 from France [1986-2013], 3 from other countries, and 1 collection strain), 31 type B (3 historical, 23 recent isolates, 4 from other countries, and 1 collection strain), and 9 type E (5 historical, 3 isolates, and 1 collection strain) were investigated by botulinum locus gene sequencing and multilocus sequence typing analysis. Historical C. botulinum A strains mainly belonged to subtype A1 and sequence type (ST) 1, whereas recent strains exhibited a wide genetic diversity: subtype A1 in orfX or ha locus, A1(B), A1(F), A2, A2b2, A5(B2') A5(B3'), as well as the recently identified A7 and A8 subtypes, and were distributed into 25 STs. Clostridium botulinum A1(B) was the most frequent subtype from food-borne botulism and food. Group I C. botulinum type B in France were mainly subtype B2 (14 out of 20 historical and recent strains) and were divided into 19 STs. Food-borne botulism resulting from ham consumption during the recent period was due to group II C. botulinum B4. Type E botulism is rare in France, 5 historical and 1 recent strains were subtype E3. A subtype E12 was recently identified from an unusual ham contamination. Clostridium botulinum strains from human botulism in France showed a wide genetic diversity and seems to result not from a single evolutionary lineage but from multiple and independent genetic rearrangements.
Project description:Clostridium botulinum is a taxonomic designation that encompasses a broad variety of spore-forming, Gram-positive bacteria producing the botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT). C. botulinum is the etiologic agent of botulism, a rare but severe neuroparalytic disease. Fine-resolution genetic characterization of C. botulinum isolates of any BoNT type is relevant for both epidemiological studies and forensic microbiology. A 10-locus multiple-locus variable-number tandem-repeat analysis (MLVA) was previously applied to isolates of C. botulinum type A. The present study includes five additional loci designed to better address proteolytic B and F serotypes. We investigated 79 C. botulinum group I strains isolated from human and food samples in several European countries, including types A (28), B (36), AB (4), and F (11) strains, and 5 nontoxic Clostridium sporogenes. Additional data were deduced from in silico analysis of 10 available fully sequenced genomes. This 15-locus MLVA (MLVA-15) scheme identified 86 distinct genotypes that clustered consistently with the results of amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) and MLVA genotyping in previous reports. An MLVA-7 scheme, a subset of the MLVA-15, performed on a lab-on-a-chip device using a nonfluorescent subset of primers, is also proposed as a first-line assay. The phylogenetic grouping obtained with the MLVA-7 does not differ significantly from that generated by the MLVA-15. To our knowledge, this report is the first to analyze genetic variability among all of the C. botulinum group I serotypes by MLVA. Our data provide new insights into the genetic variability of group I C. botulinum isolates worldwide and demonstrate that this group is genetically highly diverse.