Genome sequence of a proteolytic (Group I) Clostridium botulinum strain Hall A and comparative analysis of the clostridial genomes

Mohammed Sebaihia, Michael W. Peck, Nigel P. Minton, Nicholas R. Thomson, M. T G Holden, Wilfrid J. Mitchell, Andrew T. Carter, Stephen D. Bentley, David R. Mason, Lisa Crossman, Catherine J. Paul, Alasdair Ivens, M. H J Wells-Bennik, Ian J. Davis, Ana M. Cerdeño-Tárraga, Carol Churcher, Michael A. Quail, Tracey Chillingworth, Theresa Feltwell, Audrey FraserIan Goodhead, Zahra Hance, Kay Jagels, Natasha Larke, Mark Maddison, Sharon Moule, Karen Mungall, Halina Norbertczak, Ester Rabbinowitsch, Mandy Sanders, Mark Simmonds, Brian White, Sally Whithead, Julian Parkhill

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    218 Citations (Scopus)


    Clostridium botulinum is a heterogeneous Gram-positive species that comprises four genetically and physiologically distinct groups of bacteria that share the ability to produce botulinum neurotoxin, the most poisonous toxin known to man, and the causative agent of botulism, a severe disease of humans and animals. We report here the complete genome sequence of a representative of Group I (proteolytic) C. botulinum (strain Hall A, ATCC 3502). The genome consists of a chromosome (3,886,916 bp) and a plasmid (16,344 bp), which carry 3650 and 19 predicted genes, respectively. Consistent with the proteolytic phenotype of this strain, the genome harbors a large number of genes encoding secreted proteases and enzymes involved in uptake and metabolism of amino acids. The genome also reveals a hitherto unknown ability of C. botulinum to degrade chitin. There is a significant lack of recently acquired DNA, indicating a stable genomic content, in strong contrast to the fluid genome of Clostridium difficile, which can form longer-term relationships with its host. Overall, the genome indicates that C. botulinum is adapted to a saprophytic lifestyle both in soil and aquatic environments. This pathogen relies on its toxin to rapidly kill a wide range of prey species, and to gain access to nutrient sources, it releases a large number of extracellular enzymes to soften and destroy rotting or decayed tissues. ©2007 by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1082-1092
    Number of pages11
    JournalGenome Research
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007


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