One-step cloning and expression of Clostridium difficile toxin B gene (tcdB)

Mol Cell Probes. 2002 Jun;16(3):179-83. doi: 10.1006/mcpr.2002.0409.


The toxin genes of Clostridium difficile have been previously cloned by reconstructing the entire gene in a series of steps in sequence using several cloned fragments. Amplification of a 7.9 kb fragment corresponding to the toxin B gene (tcdB) was obtained with EXPAND Long Template PCR system. The amplified fragment was inserted into the E. coli expression vector pBAD and cloned into competent E. coli TOP 10 cells. tcdB gene sequences representing the complete toxin gene were detected in 3/120 (2.5%) clones analyzed. Culture filtrates of 2/3 clones were found to have cytotoxic activity in human lung fibroblasts. The recombinant protein expressed in E. coli was identified as toxin B by Western immunoblot analysis using C. sordellii antitoxin. This rapid cloning method may be useful in determining the role that individual genes in the pathogenicity locus (PaLoc) play in the virulence of C. difficile. Our results also suggest that the activity of toxin B is independent of other genes in the PaLoc.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins*
  • Bacterial Toxins / biosynthesis
  • Bacterial Toxins / genetics*
  • Bacterial Toxins / pharmacology
  • Cell Death / drug effects
  • Cloning, Molecular / methods*
  • Clostridium difficile / genetics
  • Clostridium difficile / pathogenicity
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Lung / cytology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Virulence / genetics


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Bacterial Toxins
  • toxB protein, Clostridium difficile