The spore-forming, anaerobic Gram positive pathogen Clostridium perfringens encodes many of its disease-causing toxins on closely related conjugative plasmids. Studies of the tetracycline resistance plasmid pCW3 have identified many of the genes involved in conjugative transfer, which are located in the tcp conjugation locus. Upstream of this locus is an uncharacterised region (the cnaC region) that is highly conserved. This study examined the importance in pCW3 conjugation of several highly conserved proteins encoded in the cnaC region. Conjugative mating studies suggested that the SrtD, TcpN and Dam proteins were required for efficient pCW3 transfer between C. perfringens cells from the same strain background. The requirement of these proteins for conjugation was amplified in matings between C. perfringens cells of different strain backgrounds. Additionally, the putative collagen adhesin protein, CnaC, was only required for the optimal transfer of pCW3 between cells of different strain backgrounds. Based on these studies we postulate that CnaC, SrtD, TcpN and Dam are involved in enhancing the transfer frequency of pCW3. These studies have led to a significant expansion of the tcp conjugation locus, which now encompasses a 19 kb region.
- Clostridium perfringens
- DNA methyltransferase
- tcp locus
- Type IV secretion system (T4SS)