The multidrug-resistant human pathogen Clostridium difficile has a highly mobile, mosaic genome

Mohammed Sebaihia, Brendan W. Wren, Peter Mullany, Neil F. Fairweather, Nigel Minton, Richard Stabler, Nicholas R. Thomson, Adam P. Roberts, Ana M. Cerdeño-Tárraga, Hongmei Wang, Matthew T.G. Holden, Anne Wright, Carol Churcher, Michael A. Quail, Stephen Baker, Nathalie Bason, Karen Brooks, Tracey Chillingworth, Ann Cronin, Paul DavisLinda Dowd, Audrey Fraser, Theresa Feltwell, Zahra Hance, Simon Holroyd, Kay Jagels, Sharon Moule, Karen Mungall, Claire Price, Ester Rabbinowitsch, Sarah Sharp, Mark Simmonds, Kim Stevens, Louise Unwin, Sally Whithead, Bruno Dupuy, Gordon Dougan, Bart Barrell, Julian Parkhill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

704 Citations (Scopus)


We determined the complete genome sequence of Clostridium difficile strain 630, a virulent and multidrug-resistant strain. Our analysis indicates that a large proportion (11%) of the genome consists of mobile genetic elements, mainly in the form of conjugative transposons. These mobile elements are putatively responsible for the acquisition by C. difficile of an extensive array of genes involved in antimicrobial resistance, virulence, host interaction and the production of surface structures. The metabolic capabilities encoded in the genome show multiple adaptations for survival and growth within the gut environment. The extreme genome variability was confirmed by whole-genome microarray analysis; it may reflect the organism's niche in the gut and should provide information on the evolution of virulence in this organism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)779-786
Number of pages8
JournalNature Genetics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2006
Externally publishedYes

Cite this