Function of the CRISPR-cas system of the human pathogen: Clostridium difficile

Pierre Boudry, Ekaterina Semenov, Marc Monot, Kirill A. Datsenko, Anna Lopatina, Ognjen Sekulovic, Maicol Ospina-Bedoya, Louis Charles Fortier, Konstantin Severinov, Bruno Dupuy, Olga Soutourina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Clostridium difficile is the cause of most frequently occurring nosocomial diarrhea worldwide. As an enteropathogen, C. difficile must be exposed to multiple exogenous genetic elements in bacteriophage-rich gut communities. CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats)-Cas (CRISPR-associated) systems allow bacteria to adapt to foreign genetic invaders. Our recent data revealed active expression and processing of CRISPR RNAs from multiple type I-B CRISPR arrays in C. difficile reference strain 630. Here, we demonstrate active expression of CRISPR arrays in strain R20291, an epidemic C. difficile strain. Through genome sequencing and host range analysis of several new C. difficile phages and plasmid conjugation experiments, we provide evidence of defensive function of the CRISPR-Cas system in both C. difficile strains. We further demonstrate that C. difficile Cas proteins are capable of interference in a heterologous host, Escherichia coli. These data set the stage for mechanistic and physiological analyses of CRISPR-Cas-mediated interactions of important global human pathogen with its genetic parasites.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere01112-15
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


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