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Rev Infect Dis. 1979 Mar-Apr;1(2):254-62.

Virulence factors of Clostridium perfringens.


Clostridium perfringens produces a variety of virulence factors. The mechanism of action of these factors usually falls into one of three groups. Some of these virulence factors, such as the alpha toxin, which is phospholipase C, and the kappa toxin, which is a collagenase, are enzymes that hydrolyze substances essential to the integrity of membranes or other body structures. Other virulence factors, such as the beta, episolon, and iota toxins, act primarily on the vascular endothelium, causing increased capillary permeability, especially in the brain. Still others, such as the delta and theta toxins, are essentially hemolysins. Theta toxin is similar in action and serologically related to streptolysin O.

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