Comparative analysis of the extracellular proteomes of two Clostridium sordellii strains exhibiting contrasting virulence

Anaerobe. 2010 Aug;16(4):454-60. doi: 10.1016/j.anaerobe.2010.03.004. Epub 2010 Mar 23.


Clostridium sordellii is a toxin-producing anaerobic bacillus that causes severe infections in humans and livestock. C. sordellii infections can be accompanied by a highly lethal toxic shock syndrome (TSS). Lethal toxin (TcsL) is an important mediator of TSS. We recently obtained a clinical strain of C. sordellii (DA-108) lacking the TcsL-encoding tcsL gene, which was not fatal in rodent models of infection, in contrast to a tcsL(+) reference strain (ATCC9714). Protein preparations derived from cell-free, stationary phase cultures obtained from ATCC9714 were lethal when injected into mice, while those obtained from DA-108 were not, a difference that was attributed to the unique presence of TcsL in the ATCC9714-derived proteins. We questioned whether there were other major differences between the extracellular proteomes of these two strains, apart from TcsL. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis was conducted using crude cell-free supernatants from these strains and 14 differentially expressed proteins were subjected to mass spectrometric analysis. Nine of these 14 proteins were more highly expressed by DA-108 and 5 by ATCC9714. Twelve of the 14 proteins isolated from the 2-D gels were putatively identified by mass spectrometry. Several of these proteins were identical, possibly reflecting enzymatic cleavage, degradation, and/or post-translational modifications. Excluding identical sequences, only 5 unique proteins were identified. Four proteins (ferredoxin-nitrite reductase; formate acetyltransferase; Translation Elongation Factor G; and purine nucleoside phosphorylase) were over-expressed by DA-108 and 1 (N-acetylmuramoyl-l-alanine amidase) by ATCC9714. These results support the concept that TcsL is the major determinant of C. sordellii TSS during infection.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / analysis*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Toxins / genetics
  • Clostridium sordellii / chemistry*
  • Clostridium sordellii / pathogenicity
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Proteome / analysis*
  • Virulence Factors / analysis*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Bacterial Toxins
  • Proteome
  • Virulence Factors