Positive regulation of Clostridium difficile toxins.


The toxigenic element of Clostridium difficile VPI 10463 contains a small open reading frame (ORF) immediately upstream of the toxin B gene (G. A. Hammond and J. L. Johnson, Microb. Pathog. 19:203-213, 1995). The deduced amino acid sequence of the ORF, which we have designated txeR, encodes a 22-kDa protein which contains a helix-turn-helix motif with sequence identity to DNA binding regulatory proteins. We used a DNA fragment containing the C. difficile toxin A repeating units (ARU) as a reporter gene to determine if txeR regulates expression from the toxin A and toxin B promoters in Escherichia coli. To test the affect of txeR on expression, we fused the ARU gene fragment in frame with the toxin promoters. The fusions expressed a 104-kDa protein that contained the epitopes for monoclonal antibody PCG-4, which we used to measure levels of recombinant ARU by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. When txeR was expressed in trans with the toxin B promoter-ARU fusion contained on separate low-copy-number plasmid, expression of ARU increased over 800-fold. Furthermore, when we tested the toxin A promoter fused to ARU, expression increased over 500-fold with txeR supplied in trans. Our results suggest that TxeR is a positive regulator that activates expression of the C. difficile toxins.

Documentos Relacionados