Suppression of toxin production in Clostridium difficile VPI 10463 by amino acids

Microbiology (Reading). 1999 Jul;145 ( Pt 7):1683-1693. doi: 10.1099/13500872-145-7-1683.


The impact of various growth conditions on the expression of toxins and other proteins by Clostridium difficile VPI 10463 was studied. During non-starved conditions, the rate of toxin synthesis paralleled that of total protein during both exponential growth and stationary phase, and in both defined and complex media. Biotin limitation reduced growth rate and bulk protein synthesis, whereas toxin expression continued, leading to a 50- to 200-fold increase in intracellular toxin levels. Concomitantly, several 22 kDa proteins were up-regulated as revealed by two-dimensional PAGE analysis. The toxin yield was 30-fold higher in peptone yeast extract (PY) than in PY containing glucose (PYG). By contrast, glucose limitation reduced toxin yields by 20- to 100-fold in defined media. By elevating the buffering capacity and bicarbonate concentration, toxin yields were increased by 10-fold in PY and PYG. The high toxin production by C. difficile during growth in PY was lowered 100-fold by adding a blend of nine amino acids and several 60-100 kDa proteins were concomitantly down-regulated. It was concluded that toxin expression in C. difficile VPI 10463 was not affected by growth rate, growth phase, catabolite repression or the stringent response. Instead the co-expression of toxins and a few specific additional proteins appeared to be influenced by metabolic pathways involving CO2 assimilation, carboxylation reactions and metabolism of certain amino acids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / metabolism*
  • Amino Acids / pharmacology
  • Bacterial Toxins*
  • Bicarbonates / metabolism
  • Bicarbonates / pharmacology
  • Biotin / metabolism
  • Biotin / pharmacology
  • Clostridium difficile / drug effects
  • Clostridium difficile / growth & development
  • Clostridium difficile / metabolism*
  • Culture Media
  • Enterotoxins / biosynthesis*
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Glucose / pharmacology
  • Kinetics


  • Amino Acids
  • Bacterial Toxins
  • Bicarbonates
  • Culture Media
  • Enterotoxins
  • tcdA protein, Clostridium difficile
  • Biotin
  • Glucose