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Gene. 1997 Nov 12;201(1-2):159-68.

Physical map of the Clostridium difficile chromosome.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA 18015, USA.


Clostridium difficile is a causative agent in antibiotically induced diarrhea and pseudomembraneous colitis. The ability of strains of C. difficile to cause disease depends upon the presence of two toxin genes and their corresponding proteins, designated toxin A and toxin B. Previous studies conducted in this laboratory indicated that toxigenic strains of C. difficile possess both toxin genes, whereas non-toxigenic strains do not. Likewise, the studies showed that toxigenic and non-toxigenic strains of C. difficile differ significantly in chromosomal organization by ribotype analysis. Therefore, the chromosomal organization of a reference strain was investigated. Pulsed field gel electrophoresis was utilized to generate a physical map of the chromosome of the toxigenic Clostridium difficile strain ATCC 43594. Restriction digestions of whole chromosomes with the enzymes NruI and SacII generated consistent macrofragment profiles. NruI digestion resulted in 14 discernible bands containing 16 fragments of DNA. SacII digestions resulted in 14 discernible bands containing 15 fragments of DNA. Restriction digestions with both SacII and NruI resulted in 21 discernible bands containing 31 fragments of DNA. Probing of single and double digests with an extensive set of NruI and SacII single- and double-digest bands clarified the location of individual fragments in relation to one another, resulting in a restriction map of the chromosome. PCR-generated probes of five loci of C. difficile were used to map the location of seven genes on the chromosome. Finally, the addition of all fragments from NruI, SacII and NruI/SacII digestions resulted in an approximate chromosome size of 4.4 Mb.

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