Comparative genomics analysis of Clostridium difficile epidemic strain DH/NAP11/106

Kociolek, L. K.; Gerding, D. N.; Hecht, D. W.; Ozer, E. A.

Microbes Infect. 2018 Feb 3


Clostridium difficile PCR ribotype 106 (also identified as restriction endonuclease analysis [REA] group DH) recently emerged as the most common strain causing C. difficile infection (CDI) among US adults. We previously identified this strain predominating our pediatric cohort. Pediatric clinical CDI isolates previously characterized by REA underwent antibiotic resistance testing and whole genome sequencing. Of 134 isolates collected from children, 31 (23%) were REA group DH. We performed a comparative genomics analysis to identify DH-associated accessory genes. We identified five DH-associated genes that are associated with virulence in other bacterial species but not previously known to contribute to CDI. These genes are associated with intestinal mucosal adhesion (collagen-binding surface protein), sporulation (sporulation integral membrane protein YtvI), and protection from oxidative stress and foreign DNA (DNA phosphorothioation-dependent restriction proteins, sulfurtransferase, and DNA sulfur modification proteins). The association of these genes was validated in a cohort of 623 publicly available C. difficile sequences, 10 (1.6%) of which were monophyletic to REA group DH through in silico multilocus sequence typing and core genome phylogenetic analysis. Further investigation is required to determine the contribution of these genes to the emergence and virulence of this epidemic strain.

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