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J Med Microbiol. 2005 Feb;54(Pt 2):119-27.

Quorum sensing in Clostridium difficile: analysis of a luxS-type signalling system.

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Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, Centre for Biomolecular Sciences, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK.


The increasing incidence of Clostridium difficile-associated disease, and the problems associated with its control, highlight the need for additional countermeasures. The attenuation of virulence through the blockade of bacterial cell-to-cell communication (quorum sensing) is one potential therapeutic target. Preliminary studies have shown that C. difficile produces at least one potential signalling molecule. Through the molecule's ability to induce bioluminescence in a Vibrio harveyi luxS reporter strain, it has been shown to correspond to autoinducer 2 (AI-2). In keeping with this observation, a homologue of luxS has been identified in the genome of C. difficile. Adjacent to luxS(Cd) a potential transcriptional regulator and sensor kinase, rolA and rolB, have been located. RT-PCR has been used to confirm the genetic organization of the luxS(Cd) locus. While AI-2 production has not been blocked so far using antisense technology, AI-2 levels could be modulated by controlling expression of the putative transcriptional regulator rolA. RolA, therefore, acts as a negative regulator of AI-2 production. Finally, it has been shown that the exogenous addition of AI-2 or 4-hydroxy-5-methyl-3(2H) furanone has no discernible effect on the production of toxins by C. difficile.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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