Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 33247281
Link to DOI – 10.1038/s42003-020-01448-5
Commun Biol 2020 Nov; 3(1): 718
Toxin-antitoxin (TA) systems are widespread on mobile genetic elements and in bacterial chromosomes. In type I TA, synthesis of the toxin protein is prevented by the transcription of an antitoxin RNA. The first type I TA were recently identified in the human enteropathogen Clostridioides difficile. Here we report the characterization of five additional type I TA within phiCD630-1 (CD0977.1-RCd11, CD0904.1-RCd13 and CD0956.3-RCd14) and phiCD630-2 (CD2889-RCd12 and CD2907.2-RCd15) prophages of C. difficile strain 630. Toxin genes encode 34 to 47 amino acid peptides and their ectopic expression in C. difficile induces growth arrest that is neutralized by antitoxin RNA co-expression. We show that type I TA located within the phiCD630-1 prophage contribute to its stability and heritability. We have made use of a type I TA toxin gene to generate an efficient mutagenesis tool for this bacterium that allowed investigation of the role of these widespread TA in prophage maintenance.