Biofilm formation by the anaerobic pathogen Clostridium difficile

Dapa, Tanja (2014) Biofilm formation by the anaerobic pathogen Clostridium difficile, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Biologia cellulare e molecolare, 26 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/6343.
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Clostridium difficile is an obligate anaerobic, Gram-positive, endospore-forming bacterium. Although an opportunistic pathogen, it is one of the important causes of healthcare-associated infections. While toxins TcdA and TcdB are the main virulence factors of C. difficile, the factors or processes involved in gut colonization during infection remain unclear. The biofilm-forming ability of bacterial pathogens has been associated with increased antibiotic resistance and chronic recurrent infections. Little is known about biofilm formation by anaerobic gut species. Biofilm formation by C. difficile could play a role in virulence and persistence of C. difficile, as seen for other intestinal pathogens. We demonstrate that C. difficile clinical strains, 630, and the strain isolated in the outbreak, R20291, form structured biofilms in vitro. Biofilm matrix is made of proteins, DNA and polysaccharide. Strain R20291 accumulates substantially more biofilm. Employing isogenic mutants, we show that virulence-associated proteins, Cwp84, flagella and a putative quorum sensing regulator, LuxS, Spo0A, are required for maximal biofilm formation by C. difficile. Moreover we demonstrate that bacteria in C. difficile biofilms are more resistant to high concentrations of vancomycin, a drug commonly used for treatment of CDI, and that inhibitory and sub-inhibitory concentrations of the same antibiotic induce biofilm formation. Surprisingly, clinical C. difficile strains from the same out-break, but from different origin, show differences in biofilm formation. Genome sequence analysis of these strains showed presence of a single nucleoide polymorphism (SNP) in the anti-σ factor RsbW, which regulates the stress-induced alternative sigma factor B (σB). We further demonstrate that RsbW, a negative regulator of alternative sigma factor B, has a role in biofilm formation and sporulation of C. difficile. Our data suggest that biofilm formation by C. difficile is a complex multifactorial process and may be a crucial mechanism for clostridial persistence in the host.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Dapa, Tanja
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze biologiche, biomediche e biotecnologiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Clostridium difficile; anaerobic pathogen; biofilms; antibiotics; virulence factors.
Data di discussione
11 Aprile 2014

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