Clostridium difficile is a leading cause of nosocomial infections, causing disease that ranges from mild diarrhea to potentially fatal colitis. A variety of surface proteins, including flagella, enable C. difficile colonization of the intestine. Once in the intestine, toxigenic C. difficile secretes two glucosylating toxins, TcdA and TcdB, which elicit inflammation and diarrheal disease symptoms. Regulation of colonization factors and TcdA and TcdB is an intense area of research in C. difficile biology. A recent publication from our group describes a novel regulatory mechanism that mediates the ON/OFF expression of co-regulated virulence factors of C. difficile, flagella and toxins. Herein, we review key findings from our work, present new data, and speculate the functional consequence of the ON/OFF expression of these virulence factors during host infection.
Keywords: Clostridium difficile; RecV; flagella; recombination; toxins.