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Microbiology. 2012 Oct;158(Pt 10):2577-84. Epub 2012 Jul 26.

Lipid diversity among botulinum neurotoxin-producing clostridia.

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Department of Biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


Clostridium botulinum has been classified into four groupings (groups I to IV) based on physiological characteristics and 16S rRNA sequencing. We have examined the lipid compositions of 11 representative strains of C. botulinum and a strain of Clostridium sporogenes by 2D-TLC and by MS. All strains contained phosphatidylglycerol (PG), cardiolipin (CL) and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) in both the all-acyl and the alk-1'-enyl (plasmalogen) forms. Five strains in proteolytic group I, which are related to C. sporogenes, contained varying amounts of an ethanolamine-phosphate derivative of N-acetylglucosaminyl-diradylglycerol, which is also present in C. sporogenes. Three strains in group II, which are related to Clostridium butyricum, Clostridium beijerinckii and Clostridium acetobutylicum, contained lipids characteristic of these saccharolytic species: a glycerol acetal and a PG acetal of the plasmalogen form of PE. Two group III strains, which are related to Clostridium novyi, contained amino-acyl derivatives of PG, which are also found in C. novyi. A strain in group IV had PE, PG and CL, but none of the distinguishing lipids. This work shows that the lipidome of C. botulinum is consistent with its classification by other methods.

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