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Toxins 2015, 7(5), 1702-1721; doi:10.3390/toxins7051702

Perfringolysin O: The Underrated Clostridium perfringens Toxin?

1
Department of Pathology, Bacteriology and Avian Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium
2
Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Biology of Large Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium
3
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Michel R. Popoff
Received: 9 April 2015 / Accepted: 8 May 2015 / Published: 14 May 2015
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Abstract

The anaerobic bacterium Clostridium perfringens expresses multiple toxins that promote disease development in both humans and animals. One such toxin is perfringolysin O (PFO, classically referred to as θ toxin), a pore-forming cholesterol-dependent cytolysin (CDC). PFO is secreted as a water-soluble monomer that recognizes and binds membranes via cholesterol. Membrane-bound monomers undergo structural changes that culminate in the formation of an oligomerized prepore complex on the membrane surface. The prepore then undergoes conversion into the bilayer-spanning pore measuring approximately 250–300 Å in diameter. PFO is expressed in nearly all identified C. perfringens strains and harbors interesting traits that suggest a potential undefined role for PFO in disease development. Research has demonstrated a role for PFO in gas gangrene progression and bovine necrohemorrhagic enteritis, but there is limited data available to determine if PFO also functions in additional disease presentations caused by C. perfringens. This review summarizes the known structural and functional characteristics of PFO, while highlighting recent insights into the potential contributions of PFO to disease pathogenesis. View Full-Text
Keywords: cholesterol-dependent cytolysin; gas gangrene; myonecrosis; necrohemorrhagic enteritis; enterotoxaemia; calves cholesterol-dependent cytolysin; gas gangrene; myonecrosis; necrohemorrhagic enteritis; enterotoxaemia; calves
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Verherstraeten, S.; Goossens, E.; Valgaeren, B.; Pardon, B.; Timbermont, L.; Haesebrouck, F.; Ducatelle, R.; Deprez, P.; Wade, K.R.; Tweten, R.; Van Immerseel, F. Perfringolysin O: The Underrated Clostridium perfringens Toxin? Toxins 2015, 7, 1702-1721.

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