Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 24532062
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2014 Apr;80(8):2555-63
Clostridium difficile is a Gram-positive pathogen infecting humans and animals. Recent studies suggest that animals could represent potential reservoirs of C. difficile that could then transfer to humans. Temperate phages contribute to the evolution of most bacteria, for example, by promoting the transduction of virulence, fitness, and antibiotic resistance genes. In C. difficile, little is known about their role, mainly because suitable propagating hosts and conditions are lacking. Here we report the isolation, propagation, and preliminary characterization of nine temperate phages from animal and human C. difficileisolates. Prophages were induced by UV light from 58 C. difficile isolates of animal and human origins. Using soft agar overlays with 27 different C. difficile test strains, we isolated and further propagated nine temperate phages: two from horse isolates (ϕCD481-1 and ϕCD481-2), three from dog isolates (ϕCD505, ϕCD506, and ϕCD508), and four from human isolates (ϕCD24-2, ϕCD111, ϕCD146, and ϕCD526). Two phages are members of the Siphoviridae family (ϕCD111 and ϕCD146), while the others are Myoviridae phages. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and restriction enzyme analyses showed that all of the phages had unique double-stranded DNA genomes of 30 to 60 kb. Phages induced from human C. difficile isolates, especially the members of the Siphoviridae family, had a broader host range than phages from animal C. difficile isolates. Nevertheless, most of the phages could infect both human and animal strains. Phage transduction of antibiotic resistance was recently reported in C. difficile. Our findings therefore call for further investigation of the potential risk of transduction between animal and human C. difficile isolates.