Project description:Clostridium difficile infection is an increasing problem in hospitals worldwide, mainly due to the recent emergence of a hypervirulent C. difficile strain. C. difficile PCR ribotyping, based on size variation of the 16S-23S rRNA intergenic spacer region (16S-23S ISR), is widely used in Europe for molecular epidemiological investigation. The mechanism underlying the 16S-23S ISR size variations in the genome of C. difficile is currently not completely understood. To elucidate this mechanism, isolates of six different PCR ribotypes were analysed by cloning and sequencing the 16S-23S ISR. A direct repeat, IB, of 9 bp was detected up to five times in the 16S-23S ISR in all 47 clones investigated. Thirty-five clones displayed differences either by ribotype or by nucleotide sequence. The sequences of the 16S-23S ISR of C. difficile showed a uniformly organized structure, composed of a tRNA(Ala) gene and spacers of 33 and 53 bp separated by the 9 bp direct repeat IB. The results of the study support the hypothesis that this composition is responsible for the length variations seen in the 16S-23S ISR, and indicate that these length variations result from slipped-strand mispairing and intra- and possibly interchromosomal homologous recombination.
Project description:Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are widely used to treat gastro-esophageal reflux and prevent gastric ulcers, and have been considered as low risk. However, recent studies have identified possible associations between PPI use and gut microbiota, suggesting that PPIs use increases the risk of enteric infections, including Clostridium difficile infection. To investigate gut microbiota in Japanese PPIs users, we conducted 16S metagenomics analysis of fecal samples collected from PPI users and healthy adults. In total, 36 PPI users and 36 PPI non-users (as control subjects) matched by age and sex were recruited and fecal samples were obtained to analyze the gut microbiome using 16S rRNA gene sequencing. There were significant differences in the microbial structure between PPI non-users and PPI users. In contrast, the analysis of ?-diversity revealed no significant differences between PPI non-users and PPI users. When comparing in genus level between these two groups, the genera Streptococcus was significantly abundant and the genera Faecalibacterium was significantly decreased in PPI users. Our findings indicate a probable association between PPI use and the alternation of microbiota. These alterations might provide a mechanism by which PPIs predispose enteric infection such as Clostridium difficile infection.
Project description:The potential to rapidly capture the entire microbial community structure and/or gene content makes metagenomic sequencing an attractive tool for pathogen identification and the detection of resistance/virulence genes in clinical settings. Here, we assessed the consistency between PCR from a diagnostic laboratory, quantitative PCR (qPCR) from a research laboratory, 16S rRNA gene sequencing, and metagenomic shotgun sequencing (MSS) for Clostridium difficile identification in diarrhea stool samples. Twenty-two C. difficile-positive diarrhea samples identified by PCR and qPCR and five C. difficile-negative diarrhea controls were studied. C. difficile was detected in 90.9% of C. difficile-positive samples using 16S rRNA gene sequencing, and C. difficile was detected in 86.3% of C. difficile-positive samples using MSS. CFU inferred from qPCR analysis were positively correlated with the relative abundance of C. difficile from 16S rRNA gene sequencing (r(2) = -0.60) and MSS (r(2) = -0.55). C. difficile was codetected with Clostridium perfringens, norovirus, sapovirus, parechovirus, and anellovirus in 3.7% to 27.3% of the samples. A high load of Candida spp. was found in a symptomatic control sample in which no causative agents for diarrhea were identified in routine clinical testing. Beta-lactamase and tetracycline resistance genes were the most prevalent (25.9%) antibiotic resistance genes in these samples. In summary, the proof-of-concept study demonstrated that next-generation sequencing (NGS) in pathogen detection is moderately correlated with laboratory testing and is advantageous in detecting pathogens without a priori knowledge.
Project description:Investigation of whole genome gene expression level changes in a Clostridium difficile fur (ferric uptake regulator) mutant, compared to the wild type strain 630 erm. The fur mutant analyzed in this study is further described in Ho and Ellermeier (2015) J. Bacteriology A microarray study using total RNA recovered from three separate wild type cultures of Clostridium difficile 630 erm strain and three separate cultures of a fur mutant strain (ltrA::ermR) were grown in Tryptone-Yeast Extract medium containing 0.25 mM ferric chloride . Each chip measures the expression level of 3,786 of the 3,787 open reading frames of the C. difficile 630 genome with 18 probes (60 oligomers each) for each gene.
Project description:Clostridium difficile is an important nosocomial pathogen in adults. Its significance in children is less well defined, but cases of C. difficile infection (CDI) appear to be increasingly prevalent in paediatric patients. This review aims to summarize reported Clostridium difficile carriage rates across children of different age groups, appraise the relationship between CDI and factors such as method of delivery, type of infant feed, antibiotic use, and co-morbidities, and review factors affecting the gut microbiome in children and the host immune response to C. difficile. Searches of PubMed and Google Scholar using the terms 'Clostridium difficile neonates' and 'Clostridium difficile children' were completed, and reference lists of retrieved publications screened for further papers. In total, 88 papers containing relevant data were included. There was large inter-study variation in reported C. difficile carriage rates. There was an association between CDI and recent antibiotic use, and co-morbidities such as immunosuppression and inflammatory bowel disease. C. difficile was also found in stools of children with diarrhoea attributed to other pathogens (e.g. rotavirus). The role of C. difficile in the paediatric gut remains unclear; is it an innocent bystander in diarrhoeal disease caused by other organisms, or a pathogen causing subclinical to severe symptoms? Further investigation of the development of serological and local host response to C. difficile carriage may shed new light on disease mechanisms. Work is underway on defining a framework for diagnosis and management of paediatric CDI.
Project description:Contaminated surfaces serve as an important reservoir for Clostridium difficile transmission. Current strategies to detect environmental contamination of C. difficile rely heavily on culture, and often only indicate presence versus absence of spores. The goal of this study was to compare quantitative PCR (qPCR) to culture for the detection and quantification of C. difficile from inert surfaces. First, we compared the limit of detection (LOD) of a 16S rRNA gene and toxin B gene qPCR assay for detection of C. difficile in solution. Second, we compared the LODs of 16S rRNA gene qPCR versus culture for detection of C. difficile from surfaces. Solution experiments were performed by direct seeding of spores into neutralizing broth, whereas surface experiments involved seeding of spores onto plastic test surfaces, and recovery using sponge swabs. Both experiments were conducted using spores expressing short (NAP1) and long (NAP4) hair lengths. Combining data from both strains, the overall LOD for C. difficile cells in solution was 1.4 cells for 16S rRNA gene and 23.6 cells for toxin B gene qPCR (p<0.001). The overall LOD for C. difficile cells from surfaces was 17.1 cells for 16S rRNA gene qPCR and 54.5 cells for culture (p = 0.05), and was not statistically different between strains for each method (p = 0.52). Overall, the proportion of C. difficile cells recovered from surfaces was good when detected by 16S rRNA gene qPCR and culture (qPCR: 76%, culture: 67%, p = 0.36), but, 16S rRNA gene qPCR was capable of detecting lower levels of surface contamination. Future work attempting to measure the presence of C. difficile on environmental surfaces should consider using qPCR.
Project description:Clostridium difficile is the main cause of nosocomial diarrhea, but is also found in asymptomatic subjects that are potentially involved in transmission of C. difficile infection. A sensitive and accurate detection method of C. difficile, especially toxigenic strains is indispensable for the epidemiological investigation.TaqMan-based quantitative-PCR (qPCR) method for targeting 16S rRNA, tcdB, and tcdA genes of C. difficile was developed. The detection limit and accuracy of qPCR were evaluated by analyzing stool samples spiked with known amounts of C. difficile. A total of 235 stool specimens collected from 82 elderly nursing home residents were examined by qPCR, and the validity was evaluated by comparing the detection result with that by C. difficile selective culture (CDSC).The analysis of C. difficile-spiked stools confirmed that qPCR quantified whole C. difficile (TcdA+TcdB+, TcdA-TcdB+, and TcdA-TcdB- types), TcdB-producing strains (TcdA+TcdB+ and TcdA-TcdB+ types), and TcdA-producing strains (TcdA+TcdB+ type), respectively, with a lower detection limit of 103 cells/g of stool. Of the 235 specimens examined, 12 specimens (5.1%) were C. difficile-positive by qPCR: TcdA+TcdB+ strain in six specimens and TcdA-TcdB- strain in the other six. CDSC detected C. difficile in 9 of the 12 specimens, and toxigenic types of the isolates from the 9 specimens were consistent with those identified by qPCR, supporting the validity of our qPCR method. Moreover, the qPCR examination revealed that the carriage rate of whole C. difficile and that of toxigenic strains in the 82 subjects over a 6-month period ranged from 2.4 to 6.8% and 1.2 to 3.8%, respectively. An average qPCR count of C. difficile detected was 104.5 cells/g of stool, suggesting that C. difficile constituted a very small fraction of intestinal microbiota.Our qPCR method should be an effective tool for both clinical diagnosis and epidemiological investigation of C. difficile.
Project description:Germination of Clostridium difficile spores is a crucial early requirement for colonization of the gastrointestinal tract. Likewise, C. difficile cannot cause disease pathologies unless its spores germinate into metabolically active, toxin-producing cells. Recent advances in our understanding of C. difficile spore germination mechanisms indicate that this process is both complex and unique. This review defines unique aspects of the germination pathways of C. difficile and compares them to those of two other well-studied organisms, Bacillus anthracis and Clostridium perfringensC. difficile germination is unique, as C. difficile does not contain any orthologs of the traditional GerA-type germinant receptor complexes and is the only known sporeformer to require bile salts in order to germinate. While recent advances describing C. difficile germination mechanisms have been made on several fronts, major gaps in our understanding of C. difficile germination signaling remain. This review provides an updated, in-depth summary of advances in understanding of C. difficile germination and potential avenues for the development of therapeutics, and discusses the major discrepancies between current models of germination and areas of ongoing investigation.
Project description:Antimicrobial use is thought to suppress the intestinal microbiota, thereby impairing colonization resistance and allowing Clostridium difficile to infect the gut. Additional risk factors such as proton-pump inhibitors may also alter the intestinal microbiota and predispose patients to Clostridium difficile infection (CDI). This comparative metagenomic study investigates the relationship between epidemiologic exposures, intestinal bacterial populations and subsequent development of CDI in hospitalized patients. We performed a nested case-control study including 25 CDI cases and 25 matched controls. Fecal specimens collected prior to disease onset were evaluated by 16S rRNA gene amplification and pyrosequencing to determine the composition of the intestinal microbiota during the at-risk period.The diversity of the intestinal microbiota was significantly reduced prior to an episode of CDI. Sequences corresponding to the phylum Bacteroidetes and to the families Bacteroidaceae and Clostridiales Incertae Sedis XI were depleted in CDI patients compared to controls, whereas sequences corresponding to the family Enterococcaceae were enriched. In multivariable analyses, cephalosporin and fluoroquinolone use, as well as a decrease in the abundance of Clostridiales Incertae Sedis XI were significantly and independently associated with CDI development.This study shows that a reduction in the abundance of a specific bacterial family - Clostridiales Incertae Sedis XI - is associated with risk of nosocomial CDI and may represent a target for novel strategies to prevent this life-threatening infection.