The multidrug-resistant human pathogen Clostridium difficile has a highly mobile, mosaic genome

Nat Genet. 2006 Jul;38(7):779-86. doi: 10.1038/ng1830. Epub 2006 Jun 25.


We determined the complete genome sequence of Clostridium difficile strain 630, a virulent and multidrug-resistant strain. Our analysis indicates that a large proportion (11%) of the genome consists of mobile genetic elements, mainly in the form of conjugative transposons. These mobile elements are putatively responsible for the acquisition by C. difficile of an extensive array of genes involved in antimicrobial resistance, virulence, host interaction and the production of surface structures. The metabolic capabilities encoded in the genome show multiple adaptations for survival and growth within the gut environment. The extreme genome variability was confirmed by whole-genome microarray analysis; it may reflect the organism's niche in the gut and should provide information on the evolution of virulence in this organism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Base Sequence
  • Clostridioides difficile / drug effects
  • Clostridioides difficile / genetics*
  • Clostridioides difficile / pathogenicity*
  • Clostridioides difficile / physiology
  • Conjugation, Genetic
  • DNA Transposable Elements / genetics
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial / genetics
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous / etiology
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous / microbiology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology
  • Genome, Bacterial
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mosaicism
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Spores, Bacterial / physiology
  • Virulence / genetics


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA, Bacterial

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AM180355
  • GENBANK/AM180356