Comparative proteomic analysis of clostridium difficile isolates of varying virulence

C. H. Chilton, Saheer Gharbia, M. Fang, R. Misra, I. R. Poxton, S. P. Borriello, H. N. Shah

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11 Citations (Scopus)


The soluble proteome of three Clostridium difficile strains of varying pathogenic potential, designated B-1, Tra 5/5 and 027 SM, were compared using differential in-gel electrophoresis in which the proteins of each strain were labelled with CyDyes. This enabled visual inspection of the 2D profiles of strains and identification of differentially expressed proteins using image analysis software. Unlabelled protein reference maps of the predominant proteins were then generated for each strain using 2D gel electrophoresis followed by protein sequencing of each spot using a Reflectron matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometer. Increased coverage of the proteome was achieved using 1D gel electrophoresis in a bottom-up approach using LC-MS/MS of 1 cm gel slices. A total of 888 different proteins were detected by comparative analysis of isolates grown in parallel for 64 h on blood agar plates. Of these, only 38% were shared between all isolates. One hundred and ten proteins were identified as showing ≥2-fold difference in expression between strains. Differential expression was shown in a number of potential virulence and colonization factors. Toxin B was detected in the more virulent strains B-1 and 027 SM, but not in the lower virulent strain Tra 5/5, despite all strains possessing an intact pathogenicity locus. The S-layer protein (Cwp2) was identified in strains 027 SM and Tra 5/5 but not strain B-1, and differences in the post-translational modification of SlpA were noted for strain B-1.The variant S-layer profile of strain B-1 was confirmed by genomic comparison, which showed a 58 kb insertion in the S-layer operon of strain B-1.Differential posttranslation modification events were also noted in flagellar proteins, thought to be due to differential glycosylation. This study highlights genomic and proteomic variation of different Clostridium difficile strains and suggests a number of factors may play a role in mediating the varying virulence of these different strains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-503
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Medical Microbiology
Issue numberPART 4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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