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Sequence variation in tcdA and tcdB of Clostridium difficile: ST37 with truncated tcdA is a potential epidemic strain in China



Sequence variation in tcdA and tcdB of Clostridium difficile: ST37 with truncated tcdA is a potential epidemic strain in China



Journal of Clinical Microbiology 52(9): 3264-3270



Clostridium difficile is a well-known nosocomial infectious pathogen. Research on C. difficile infection has primarily focused on strains such as the hypervirulent PCR ribotype 027 (sequence type 1 [ST1]) emerging in Europe and North America. However, other new emerging ribotypes in some countries have attracted attention, such as PCR ribotype 17 (ST37) in Asia and Latin America. We collected 70 strains and sequenced their toxin genes, tcdA and tcdB. Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) was used to study their population structure. In addition, tcdA and/or tcdB sequences of 25 other isolates were obtained from GenBank. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were identified and analyzed. Phylogenetic analyses were performed to study toxin gene evolution. All tcdA and tcdB sequences were divided into 1 of 16 types (denoted A01 to -16 and B01 to -16, respectively). Hypervirulent strain RT027 is A13B12, and RT078 is A14B10, whereas the newly epidemic strain RT017 is A15B13. SNP analysis suggests the possibility of recombination in tcdB, perhaps through horizontal gene transfer. SNPs were also found in the sequences corresponding to the PCR primers widely used for toxin detection. Our study shows that ST037 shares a few genotypic features in its tcdA and tcdB genes with some known hypervirulent strains, indicating that they fall into a unique clade. Our findings can be used to map the relationships among C. difficile strains more finely than can be done with less sensitive methods, such as toxinotyping or even MLST, to reveal their inherent epidemiological characteristics.

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Accession: 055719696

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PMID: 24958798

DOI: 10.1128/JCM.03487-13



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