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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2014 Sep;358(2):110-8. doi: 10.1111/1574-6968.12499. Epub 2014 Jun 26.

Initiation of sporulation in Clostridium difficile: a twist on the classic model.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA.


The formation of dormant endospores is a complex morphological process that permits long-term survival in inhospitable environments for many Gram-positive bacteria. Sporulation for the anaerobic gastrointestinal pathogen Clostridium difficile is necessary for survival outside of the gastrointestinal tract of its host. While the developmental stages of spore formation are largely conserved among endospore-forming bacteria, the genus Clostridium appears to be missing a number of conserved regulators required for efficient sporulation in other spore-forming bacteria. Several recent studies have discovered novel mechanisms and distinct regulatory pathways that control the initiation of sporulation and early-sporulation-specific gene expression. These differences in regulating the decision to undergo sporulation reflects the unique ecological niche and environmental conditions that C. difficile inhabits and encounters within the mammalian host.


anaerobe; endospore; nutrition; phosphorylation; spores; sporulation

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