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Res Microbiol. 2010 Nov;161(9):730-4. doi: 10.1016/j.resmic.2010.09.007. Epub 2010 Sep 21.

Clostridium difficile spore germination: an update.

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Nottingham Digestive Diseases Centre NIHR Biomedical Research Unit (NDDC BRU), School of Molecular Medical Sciences, Centre for Biomolecular Sciences, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD, UK.


Endospore production is vital for the spread of Clostridium difficile infection. However, in order to cause disease, these spores must germinate and return to vegetative cell growth. Knowledge of germination is therefore important, with potential practical implications for routine cleaning, outbreak management and potentially in the design of new therapeutics. Germination has been well studied in Bacillus, but until recently there had been few studies reported in C. difficile. The role of bile salts as germinants for C. difficile spores has now been described in some detail, which improves our understanding of how C. difficile spores interact with their environment following ingestion by susceptible individuals. Furthermore, with the aid of novel genetic tools, it has now become possible to study the germination of C. difficile spores using both a forward and reverse genetics approach. Significant progress is beginning to be made in the study of this important aspect of C. difficile disease.

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