Verbascoside Protects Mice From Clostridial Gas Gangrene by Inhibiting the Activity of Alpha Toxin and Perfringolysin O.
ABSTRACT: Gas gangrene, caused mainly by the anaerobic bacterium Clostridium perfringens (C. perfringens), causes death within 48 h of onset. Limited therapeutic strategies are available, and it is associated with extremely high mortality. Both C. perfringens alpha toxin (CPA) and perfringolysin O (PFO) are important virulence factors in the development of gas gangrene, suggesting that they are therapeutic targets. Here, we found that verbascoside, a phenylpropanoid glycoside widely distributed in Chinese herbal medicines, could effectively inhibit the biological activity of both CPA and PFO in hemolytic assays. The oligomerization of PFO was remarkably inhibited by verbascoside. Although no antibacterial activity was observed, verbascoside treatment protected Caco-2 cells from the damage caused by CPA and PFO. Additionally, infected mice treated with verbascoside showed significantly alleviated damage, reduced bacterial burden, and decreased mortality. In summary, verbascoside has an effective therapeutic effect against C. perfringens virulence both in vitro and in vivo by simultaneously targeting CPA and PFO. Our results provide a promising strategy and a potential lead compound for C. perfringens infections, especially gas gangrene.
Project description:Clostridium perfringens (C. perfringens) type A strains are the main cause of gas gangrene in humans and animals. Treatment of this lethal disease is limited, and the prognosis is not good. Alpha-toxin (CPA) and perfringolysin O (PFO) secreted by C. perfringens play irreplaceable roles in cytotoxicity to host cells, persistence in host tissues, and lethality of gas gangrene pathology. This work determined the influence of amentoflavone, a biflavonoid isolated from Selaginella tamariscina and other plants, on hemolysis and cytotoxicity mediated by CPA and PFO and evaluated the in vivo therapeutic effect on gas gangrene. Our data showed that amentoflavone could block the hemolysis and cytotoxicity induced by CPA and PFO in vitro, thereby mediating significant protection against mortality of infected mice in a mouse gas gangrene model, efficient bacterial clearance in tissues and alleviation of histological damage in vivo. Based on the above results, amentoflavone may be a potential candidate against C. perfringens infection by reducing CPA and PFO-mediated virulence.
Project description:Clostridium perfringens (C. perfringens) is Gram-positive anaerobic, spore-forming rod-shaped bacterial pathogen that is widely distributed in nature. This bacterium is known as the causative agent of a foodborne illness and of gas gangrene. While the major virulence factors are the ?-toxin and perfringolysin O (PFO) produced by type A strains of C. perfringens, the precise mechanisms of how these toxins induce the development of gas gangrene are still not well understood. In this study, we analyzed the host responses to these toxins, including inflammasome activation, using mouse bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDMs). Our results demonstrated, for the first time, that C. perfringens triggers the activation of caspase-1 and release of IL-1? through PFO-mediated inflammasome activation via a receptor of the Nod-like receptor (NLR) family, pyrin-domain containing 3 protein (NLRP3). The PFO-mediated inflammasome activation was not induced in the cultured myocytes. We further analyzed the functional roles of the toxins in inducing myonecrosis in a mouse model of gas gangrene. Although the myonecrosis was found to be largely dependent on the ?-toxin, PFO also induced myonecrosis to a lesser extent, again through the mediation of NLRP3. These results suggest that C. perfringens triggers inflammatory responses via PFO-mediated inflammasome activation via NLRP3, and that this axis contributes in part to the progression of gas gangrene. Our findings provide a novel insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of gas gangrene caused by C. perfringens.
Project description:Clostridium perfringens is a Gram-positive anaerobe ubiquitously present in different environments, including the gut of humans and animals. C. perfringens have been classified in the seven toxinotypes based on the secreted toxins that cause different diseases in humans and animals. Perfringolysin O (PFO), a cholesterol-dependent pore-forming cytolysin, is one of the potent toxins secreted by almost all C. perfringens isolates. The PFO acts in synergy with α-toxin in the progression of gas gangrene in humans and necrohemorrhagic enteritis in the calves.C. perfringens infections spread very fast, and the animals die within a few hours of the onset of infection. This necessitates the use of vaccines to control clostridial infections. Though the vaccine potential of other toxins has been reported, PFO has remained unexplored. The present study describes the immunogenic and protective potential of native recombinant PFO (WTrPFO). Since the PFO is toxic to the host cells, the non-toxic C-terminal domain of PFO (rPFOC-ter) was also assessed for its immunogenicity and protective efficacy. Immunization of mice with the purified soluble recombinant histidine-tagged WTrPFO and rPFOC-ter, expressed in E. coli, generated robust mixed immune response and T cell memory. Pre-incubation of the WTrPFO with anti-WTrPFO and rPFOC-ter antisera negated its hemolytic activity in mice RBCs, as well as its cytotoxic effect in mice peritoneal macrophages in vitro. Thus, immunization with the WTrPFO and its non-toxic C-terminal domain generated neutralizing antibodies, suggesting their vaccine potential against the PFO. Thus, the non-toxic C-terminal domain of PFO could serve as an alternative to PFO as a vaccine candidate.
Project description:<i>Clostridium perfringens</i> produces an arsenal of toxins that act together to cause severe infections in humans and livestock animals. Perfringolysin O (PFO) is a cholesterol-dependent pore-forming toxin encoded in the chromosome of virtually all <i>C. perfringens</i> strains and acts in synergy with other toxins to determine the outcome of the infection. However, its individual contribution to the disease is poorly understood. Here, we intoxicated human epithelial and endothelial cells with purified PFO to evaluate the host cytoskeletal responses to PFO-induced damage. We found that, at sub-lytic concentrations, PFO induces a profound reorganization of the actomyosin cytoskeleton culminating into the assembly of well-defined cortical actomyosin structures at sites of plasma membrane (PM) remodeling. The assembly of such structures occurs concomitantly with the loss of the PM integrity and requires pore-formation, calcium influx, and myosin II activity. The recovery from the PM damage occurs simultaneously with the disassembly of cortical structures. PFO also targets the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) by inducing its disruption and vacuolation. ER-enriched vacuoles were detected at the cell cortex within the PFO-induced actomyosin structures. These cellular events suggest the targeting of the endothelium integrity at early stages of <i>C. perfringens</i> infection, in which secreted PFO is at sub-lytic concentrations.
Project description:Sepsis caused by <i>Clostridium perfringens</i> infection is rare but often fatal. The most serious complication leading to poor prognosis is massive intravascular hemolysis (MIH). However, the molecular mechanism underlying this fulminant form of hemolysis is unclear. In the present study, we employed 11 clinical strains isolated from patients with <i>C. perfringens</i> septicemia and subdivided these isolates into groups H and NH: septicemia with (<i>n</i> = 5) or without (<i>n</i> = 6) MIH, respectively. To elucidate the major pathogenic factors of MIH, biological features were compared between these groups. The isolates of two groups did not differ in growth rate, virulence-related gene expression, or phospholipase C (CPA) production. Erythrocyte hemolysis was predominantly observed in culture supernatants of the strains in group H, and the human erythrocyte hemolysis rate was significantly correlated with perfringolysin O (PFO) production. Correlations were also found among PFO production, human peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) cytotoxicity, and production of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and interleukin-8 (IL-8) by human PBMCs. Analysis of proinflammatory cytokines showed that PFO induced tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), IL-5, IL-6, and IL-8 production more strongly than did CPA. PFO exerted potent cytotoxic and proinflammatory cytokine induction effects on human blood cells. PFO may be a major virulence factor of sepsis with MIH, and potent proinflammatory cytokine production induced by PFO may influence the rapid progression of this fatal disease caused by <i>C. perfringens</i>.
Project description:Cholesterol-dependent cytolysins (CDCs) constitute a family of pore-forming toxins secreted by Gram-positive bacteria. These toxins form transmembrane pores by inserting a large ?-barrel into cholesterol-containing membranes. Cholesterol is absolutely required for pore-formation. For most CDCs, binding to cholesterol triggers conformational changes that lead to oligomerization and end in pore-formation. Perfringolysin O (PFO), secreted by Clostridium perfringens, is the prototype for the CDCs. The molecular mechanisms by which cholesterol regulates the cytolytic activity of the CDCs are not fully understood. In particular, the location of the binding site for cholesterol has remained elusive. We have summarized here the current body of knowledge on the CDCs-cholesterol interaction, with focus on PFO. We have employed sterols in aqueous solution to identify structural elements in the cholesterol molecule that are critical for its interaction with PFO. In the absence of high-resolution structural information, site-directed mutagenesis data combined with binding studies performed with different sterols, and molecular modeling are beginning to shed light on this interaction.
Project description:Pneumolysin (PLY), an important protein virulence factor of the human bacterial pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae, could be a candidate for inclusion in a new anti-streptococcal vaccine. PLY solution species from monomer via multimeric intermediates to ring-shaped oligomers were studied with time-dependent sedimentation velocity in the analytical ultracentrifuge (AUC). Hydrodynamic bead modeling was used to interpret the data obtained. PLY remained mostly monomeric in solution; intermediate PLY multimers were detected in small quantities. Current understanding of PLY molecular mechanism is guided by a model built on the basis of its homology with perfringolysin O (PFO) for which there is an atomic structure. PFO, a virulence factor of the organism Clostridium perfringens, has almost the same molecular mass as PLY and shares 48% sequence identity and 60% sequence similarity with PLY. We report a comparative low-resolution structural study of PLY and PFO using AUC and small-angle x-ray scattering (SAXS). AUC data demonstrate that both proteins in solution are mostly monodisperse but PLY is a monomer whereas PFO is mostly dimeric. Ab initio dummy atom and dummy residue models for PFO and PLY were restored from the distance distribution function derived from experimental small-angle x-ray scattering curves. In solution, PLY is elongated, consistent with the shape predicted by its high-resolution homology model. The PFO dimer is also an elongated particle whose shape and volume are consistent with a staggered antiparallel dimer.
Project description:Clostridium perfringens type B causes enteritis and enterotoxemia in domestic animals. By definition, these bacteria must produce alpha toxin (CPA), beta toxin (CPB) and epsilon toxin (ETX) although most type B strains also produce perfringolysin O (PFO) and beta2 toxin (CPB2). A recently identified Agr-like quorum-sensing (QS) system in C. perfringens controls all toxin production by surveyed type A, C, and D strains, but whether this QS is involved in regulating toxin production by type B strains has not been explored. Therefore, the current study introduced agrB null mutations into type B strains CN1795 and CN1793. Both type B agrB null mutants exhibited reduced levels of CPB, PFO, and CPA in their culture supernatants, and this effect was reversible by complementation. The reduced presence of CPB in culture supernatant involved decreased cpb transcription. In contrast, the agrB null mutants of both type B strains retained wild-type production levels of ETX and CPB2. In a Caco-2 cell model of enteritis, culture supernatants of the type B agrB null mutants were less cytotoxic than supernatants of their wild-type parents. However, in an MDCK cell in vitro model for enterotoxemic effects, supernatants from the agrB null mutants or wild-type parents were equally cytotoxic after trypsin activation. Coupling these and previous results, it is now evident that strain-dependent variations exist in Agr-like QS system regulation of C. perfringens toxin production. The cell culture results further support a role for trypsin in determining which toxins contribute to disease involving type B strains.
Project description:Clostridium perfringens type C isolates cause necrotizing enteritis in humans and domestic animals. In vitro, type C isolates often produce beta toxin (CPB), beta2 toxin (CPB2), alpha toxin (CPA), perfringolysin O (PFO) and TpeL during (or after) late log-phase growth. In contrast, the current study found that many type C isolates respond to close contact with enterocyte-like Caco-2 cells by producing all toxins, except TpeL, much more rapidly than occurs during in vitro growth. This in vivo effect involves rapid transcriptional upregulation of the cpb, cpb2, pfoA and plc toxin genes. Rapid Caco-2 cell-induced upregulation of CPB and PFO production involves the VirS/VirR two-component system, since upregulated in vivo transcription of the pfoA and cpb genes was blocked by inactivating the virR gene and was reversible by complementation to restore VirR expression. However, the luxS quorum-sensing system is not required for the rapid upregulation of type C toxin production induced by contact with Caco-2 cells. These results provide the first indication of host cell:pathogen cross-talk affecting toxin production kinetics by any pathogenic Clostridium spp., identify in vivo versus in vitro differences in C. perfringens toxin expression, and implicate VirS/VirR as a possible contributor to some C. perfringens enteric diseases.
Project description:Gas gangrene, or clostridial myonecrosis, is usually caused by <i>Clostridium perfringens</i> and may occur spontaneously in association with diabetes mellitus, peripheral vascular disease, or some malignancies but more often after contamination of a deep surgical or traumatic lesion. If not controlled, clostridial myonecrosis results in multiorgan failure, shock, and death, but very little is known about the muscle regeneration process that follows myonecrosis when the infection is controlled. In this study, we characterized the muscle regeneration process after myonecrosis caused in a murine experimental infection with a sublethal inoculum of <i>C. perfringens</i> vegetative cells. The results show that myonecrosis occurs concomitantly with significant vascular injury, which limits the migration of inflammatory cells. A significant increase in cytokines that promote inflammation explains the presence of an inflammatory infiltrate; however, impaired interferon gamma (IFN-?) expression, a reduced number of M1 macrophages, deficient phagocytic activity, and a prolongation of the permanence of inflammatory cells lead to deficient muscle regeneration. The expression of transforming growth factor ?1 (TGF-?1) agrees with the consequent accumulation of collagen in the muscle, i.e., fibrosis observed 30?days after infection. These results provide new information on the pathogenesis of gas gangrene caused by <i>C. perfringens</i>, shed light on the basis of the deficient muscle regenerative activity, and may open new perspectives for the development of novel therapies for patients suffering from this disease.