Adaptation of host transmission cycle during Clostridium difficile speciation
Browne, Hilary P
Forster, Samuel C
Stares, Mark D
Fairley, Derek J
Clokie, Martha RJ
Jensen, Mie Birgitte Frid
Hargreaves, Katherine R
Wieler, Lothar H
Riley, Thomas V
Kuijper, Ed J
Wren, Brendan W
Lawley, Trevor D
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AbstractBacterial speciation is a fundamental evolutionary process characterized by diverging genotypic and phenotypic properties. However, the selective forces that affect genetic adaptations and how they relate to the biological changes that underpin the formation of a new bacterial species remain poorly understood. Here, we show that the spore-forming, healthcare-associated enteropathogen Clostridium difficile is actively undergoing speciation. Through large-scale genomic analysis of 906 strains, we demonstrate that the ongoing speciation process is linked to positive selection on core genes in the newly forming species that are involved in sporulation and the metabolism of simple dietary sugars. Functional validation shows that the new C. difficile produces spores that are more resistant and have increased sporulation and host colonization capacity when glucose or fructose is available for metabolism. Thus, we report the formation of an emerging C. difficile species, selected for metabolizing simple dietary sugars and producing high levels of resistant spores, that is adapted for healthcare-mediated transmission.
CitationKumar, N., Browne, H.P., Viciani, E. et al. (2019) Adaptation of host transmission cycle during Clostridium difficile speciation. Nat Genet 51, 1315–1320 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41588-019-0478-8
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media LLC
DescriptionThis is an accepted manuscript of an article published by Nature Research in Nature Genetics on 12/08/2019, available online: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41588-019-0478-8 The accepted version of the publication may differ from the final published version.
SponsorsThis work was supported by the Wellcome Trust (098051), the UK Medical Research Council (PF451 and MR/K000511/1), the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (1091097 and 1159239 to S.F.) and the Victorian Government’s Operational Infrastructure Support Program.
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/