Serogroup F Strains of Clostridium Difficile Produce Toxin B but Not Toxin A

J Med Microbiol. 1993 Jun;38(6):434-41. doi: 10.1099/00222615-38-6-434.


Most toxigenic strains of Clostridium difficile produce two toxins: an enterotoxin (toxin A) and a cytotoxin (toxin B). Only one strain (strain 8864) has been reported to produce toxin B but no toxin A. Serogroup F strains (44) of C. difficile, often isolated from asymptomatic infants, have been examined for toxin production. These strains, which were from distinct geographical and clinical sources, did not produce any detectable toxin A in vitro when examined in three distinct immunoassays. Nevertheless, all the strain produced a cytotoxin. Immunological differences between the cytotoxin of the serogroup F strains and that produced by C. difficile strain VPI 10463 (serogroup G) were demonstrated with monoclonal antibodies specific for either the toxin B produced by C. difficile strain VPI 10463 or C. sordellii lethal toxin (LT). Polymerase chain reaction amplification with primers derived from C. difficile strain VPI 10463 toxin A and B genes showed that serogroup F strains seem to possess a toxin B gene homologous with that of strain VPI 10463 and at least fragments of the toxin A gene. When axenic mice were inoculated with serogroup F strains, the animals survived; they did not develop diarrhoea and no toxin A could be detected in their faeces. However, cytotoxin was detected. Furthermore, these mice were protected against subsequent challenge with the otherwise lethally toxigenic C. difficile strain VPI 10463. The serogroup F strains appeared to be homogeneous and distinct from other C. difficile strains with regard to toxin production.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins*
  • Bacterial Toxins / analysis*
  • Bacterial Toxins / genetics
  • Bacterial Toxins / toxicity
  • Base Sequence
  • Clostridium Infections / microbiology
  • Clostridium difficile / chemistry*
  • Clostridium difficile / classification
  • Clostridium difficile / pathogenicity
  • Enterotoxins / analysis*
  • Enterotoxins / genetics
  • Enterotoxins / toxicity
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Genes, Bacterial / genetics
  • Germ-Free Life
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Serotyping
  • Virulence


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