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Toxins 2016, 8(3), 73; doi:10.3390/toxins8030073

Clostridium perfringens Enterotoxin: Action, Genetics, and Translational Applications

Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, USA
These authors contributed equally to this work.
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Harald Genth and Michel R. Popoff
Received: 23 February 2016 / Revised: 4 March 2016 / Accepted: 8 March 2016 / Published: 16 March 2016
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Abstract

Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin (CPE) is responsible for causing the gastrointestinal symptoms of several C. perfringens food- and nonfood-borne human gastrointestinal diseases. The enterotoxin gene (cpe) is located on either the chromosome (for most C. perfringens type A food poisoning strains) or large conjugative plasmids (for the remaining type A food poisoning and most, if not all, other CPE-producing strains). In all CPE-positive strains, the cpe gene is strongly associated with insertion sequences that may help to assist its mobilization and spread. During disease, CPE is produced when C. perfringens sporulates in the intestines, a process involving several sporulation-specific alternative sigma factors. The action of CPE starts with its binding to claudin receptors to form a small complex; those small complexes then oligomerize to create a hexameric prepore on the membrane surface. Beta hairpin loops from the CPE molecules in the prepore assemble into a beta barrel that inserts into the membrane to form an active pore that enhances calcium influx, causing cell death. This cell death results in intestinal damage that causes fluid and electrolyte loss. CPE is now being explored for translational applications including cancer therapy/diagnosis, drug delivery, and vaccination. View Full-Text
Keywords: Clostridium perfringens ; enterotoxin; pore-forming toxin; sporulation; tight junctions; claudins Clostridium perfringens ; enterotoxin; pore-forming toxin; sporulation; tight junctions; claudins
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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Freedman, J.C.; Shrestha, A.; McClane, B.A. Clostridium perfringens Enterotoxin: Action, Genetics, and Translational Applications. Toxins 2016, 8, 73.

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