A recombinant carboxy-terminal domain of alpha-toxin protects mice against Clostridium perfringens



Masahiro Nagahama, Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Tokushima Bunri University, Yamashiro-cho, Tokushima 770-8514, Japan.

Tel: +81 088 622 9611; fax: +81 088 655 3051; email: nagahama@ph.bunri-u.ac.jp


Clostridium perfringens alpha-toxin (CP, 370 residues) is one of the main agents involved in the development of gas gangrene. In this study, the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of the C-terminal domain (CP251-370) of the toxin and phospholipase C (PLC; CB, 372 residues) of Clostridum bifermentans isolated from cases of clostridium necrosis were examined. The recombinant proteins were expressed as glutathione S-transferase (GST) fusion proteins. Antibodies that cross-reacted with alpha-toxin were produced after immunization with recombinant proteins including GST-CP251-370, GST-CP281-370, GST-CP311-370, CB1-372 and GST-CB251-372. Anti-GST-CP251-370, anti-GST-CP281-370 and anti-GST-CP311-370 sera neutralized both the PLC and hemolytic activities of alpha-toxin, whereas anti-CB1-372 and anti-GST-CB251-372 weakly neutralized these activities. Immunization with GST-CP251-370 and GST-CP281-370 provided protection against the lethal effects of the toxin and C. perfringens type A NCTC8237. Partial protection from the toxin and C. perfringens was elicited by immunization with GST-CP311-370 and CB1-372. GST-CP251-370 and GST-CP281-370 are promising candidates for vaccines for clostridial-induced gas gangrene.