Characterisation of Clostridium Difficile Biofilm Formation, a Role for Spo0A

PLoS One. 2012;7(12):e50527. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0050527. Epub 2012 Dec 7.


Clostridium difficile is a Gram-positive anaerobic, spore-forming bacillus that is the leading cause of nosocomial diarrhoea worldwide. We demonstrate that C. difficile aggregates and forms biofilms in vitro on abiotic surfaces. These polymicrobial aggregates are attached to each other and to an abiotic surface by an extracellular polymeric substance (EPS). The EPS matrix provides the scaffold bonding together vegetative cells and spores, as well as forming a protective barrier for vegetative cells against oxygen stress. The master regulator of sporulation, Spo0A, may play a key role in biofilm formation, as genetic inactivation of spo0A in strain R20291 exhibits decreased biofilm formation. Our findings highlight an important attribute of C. difficile pathogenesis, which may have significant implications for infection, treatment and relapse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / physiology*
  • Biofilms / growth & development*
  • Clostridium difficile / physiology*
  • Spores, Bacterial / growth & development*


  • Bacterial Proteins