Hybridization of 2,659 Clostridium perfringens isolates with gene probes for seven toxins (alpha, beta, epsilon, iota, theta, mu, and enterotoxin) and for sialidase

Am J Vet Res. 1996 Apr;57(4):496-501.


Objective: To genetically characterize Clostridium perfringens isolates for association of pathologic type with various diseases.

Design: Prospective study.

Sample population: 2,659 C perfringens isolates from various nonhuman animals species, human beings, and foods.

Procedure: Colony hybridization with DNA probes for 7 toxin (alpha, beta, epsilon, iota (subunits a and b), theta, mu, and enterotoxin) genes and 1 sialidase gene were performed to group the isolates by pathologic type.

Results: Enterotoxin-negative type-A isolates were the most common (2,575/2,659), were isolated from all sources, and were separated into 5 pathologic types. In cattle and horses with enterotoxemia, essentially only these pathologic types were identified. The enterotoxin-negative isolates of types C or D each had a single pathologic type. Type-C isolates were isolated only from swine with necrotic enteritis and type-D isolates from small ruminants with enterotoxemia, except that 1 type-D isolate was also found from a healthy fish. Type-B or -E isolates were not found. Among the 47 enterotoxin-positive isolates, 5 isolates from sheep or deer were type D and the other 42 were type A. These 42 isolates were grouped into 3 pathologic types: 1 type was isolated from samples of almost all origins, but the other 2 types were found in only 5 fish, 4 human beings, and 1 dog.

Conclusions and clinical relevance: Genetic characterization of these isolates allowed identification of 11 different pathologic types. This approach may be useful in molecular diagnosis and prophylaxis of clostridial disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic
  • Bacterial Toxins / genetics*
  • Base Sequence
  • Cats
  • Cattle
  • Clostridium perfringens / genetics*
  • Clostridium perfringens / isolation & purification*
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA Probes
  • Deer
  • Dogs
  • Fishes
  • Food Microbiology
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Goats
  • Horses
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neuraminidase / genetics*
  • Poultry
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sheep
  • Species Specificity
  • Swine


  • Bacterial Toxins
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA Probes
  • Neuraminidase