SleC is essential for germination of Clostridium difficile spores in nutrient-rich medium supplemented with the bile salt taurocholate.

Journal of Bacteriology
David A BurnsNigel P Minton


Clostridium difficile is the major cause of infectious diarrhea and a major burden to health care services. The ability of this organism to form endospores plays a pivotal role in infection and disease transmission. Spores are highly resistant to many forms of disinfection and thus are able to persist on hospital surfaces and disseminate infection. In order to cause disease, the spores must germinate and the organism must grow vegetatively. Spore germination in Bacillus is well understood, and genes important for this process have recently been identified in Clostridium perfringens; however, little is known about C. difficile. Apparent homologues of the spore cortex lytic enzyme genes cwlJ and sleB (Bacillus subtilis) and sleC (C. perfringens) are present in the C. difficile genome, and we describe inactivation of these homologues in C. difficile 630Delta erm and a B1/NAP1/027 clinical isolate. Spores of a sleC mutant were unable to form colonies when germination was induced with taurocholate, although decoated sleC spores formed the same number of heat-resistant colonies as the parental control, even in the absence of germinants. This suggests that sleC is absolutely required for conversion of spores to vegetative cells, in co...Continue Reading


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