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Vet Microbiol. 2003 Jul 1;94(2):121-9.

Prevalence of cpb2, encoding beta2 toxin, in Clostridium perfringens field isolates: correlation of genotype with phenotype.

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Department of Veterinary Science and Microbiology, The University of Arizona, 1117 East Lowell Street, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA.


Beta2 toxin, encoded by the cpb2 gene, has been implicated in the pathogenesis of porcine, equine and bovine enteritis by type A Clostridium perfringens. By incorporating primers to cpb2 into a multiplex genotyping PCR, we screened 3270 field isolates of C. perfringens. Of these, 37.2% were PCR positive for the cpb2 gene. The majority of isolates from cases of porcine enteritis were positive for cpb2 (>85%), and this was even more true for C. perfringens isolated from cases of porcine neonatal enteritis (91.8%). In contrast, isolates from normal pigs only contained cpb2 in 11.1% of cases. The correlation between enteritis in other animal species and the presence of cpb2 was not so strong. cpb2 was found in 21.4% of C. perfringens isolates from cattle with enteritis, and in 47.3% of isolates from calves with enteritis or abomastitis. The prevalence of cpb2 varied with genotype, with type A isolates being positive for this gene in 35.1% of cases. Furthermore, enterotoxigenic type D or type E strains almost always carried cpb2. We cloned a 6xHIS-tagged beta2 (HIS-beta2) and used this protein to raise antiserum against beta2. Culture supernatants from 68 cpb2-positive and 13 cpb2-negative strains were tested for the presence of beta2 by Western blotting. In cpb2-positive isolates of porcine origin, beta2 was almost always detected (96.9%). However, in cpb2-positive isolates from other animal species, only 50.0% expressed beta2 protein. The high rate of cpb2-positivity among strains from neonatal pigs with enteritis and the high correlation of genotype with phenotype, supports the contention that beta2 toxin plays a role in the pathogenesis of these infections. However, it may be important to consider the use of an additional method for the detection of beta2 toxin in non-porcine cpb2-positive isolates when making claims about the role of beta2 in enteritis in non-porcine species.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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