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Author Notes:

Aimee Shen: aimee.shen@tufts.edu


Research Funding:

Research in this manuscript was funded by Award Numbers R21AI126067 and R01AI22232 from the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), Award Number R01GM108684 from the National Institutes of General Medical Sciences, and Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts to A.S.; R01 AI116933 from NIAID to A.N.E.; N.L. Tartar Foundation and the Agricultural Research Foundation of Oregon State University to M.R.S; and FONDECYT REGULAR 1151025 from the Fondo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología de Chile to D.P.S.


  • Animals
  • Clostridium
  • Clostridium Infections
  • Humans
  • Spores, Bacterial

Sporulation and Germination in Clostridial Pathogens


Journal Title:

Microbiology Spectrum


Volume 7, Number 6


Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


As obligate anaerobes, clostridial pathogens depend on their metabolically dormant, oxygen-tolerant spore form to transmit disease. However, the molecular mechanisms by which those spores germinate to initiate infection and then form new spores to transmit infection remain poorly understood. While sporulation and germination have been well characterized in Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus anthracis, striking differences in the regulation of these processes have been observed between the bacilli and the clostridia, with even some conserved proteins exhibiting differences in their requirements and functions. Here, we review our current understanding of how clostridial pathogens, specifically Clostridium perfringens, Clostridium botulinum, and Clostridioides difficile, induce sporulation in response to environmental cues, assemble resistant spores, and germinate metabolically dormant spores in response to environmental cues. We also discuss the direct relationship between toxin production and spore formation in these pathogens.

Copyright information:

Copyright © 2019, ASM Press

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