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An enhanced green fluorescence protein (EGFP)-based reporter assay for quantitative detection of sporulation in Clostridium perfringens SM101

Wakabayashi, Yuki, Nariya, Hirofumi, Yasugi, Mayo, Kuwahara, Tomomi, Sarker, Mahfuzur R., Miyake, Masami
International journal of food microbiology 2019 v.291 pp. 144-150
Clostridium perfringens, bacteria, enterotoxins, fluorescence, foodborne illness, green fluorescent protein, intestines, microscopy, protein products, reporter genes, screening, spores, sporulation, transcription factors, vegetative cells
Clostridium perfringens type F is a spore-forming anaerobe that causes bacterial food-borne illness in humans. The disease develops when ingested vegetative cells reach the intestinal tract and begin to form spores that produce the diarrheagenic C. perfringens enterotoxin (CPE). Given that CPE production is regulated by the master regulator of sporulation (transcription factor Spo0A), the identification of sporulation-inducing factors in the intestine is relevant to better understanding of the disease. To examine these factors, we established assays to quantify C. perfringens sporulation stage under microscopy by using two fluorescent reporters, namely, Evoglow-Bs2 and CpEGFP. When the reporter genes were placed under control of the cpe promoter, both protein products were expressed specifically during sporulation. However, the intensity of the anaerobic reporter Evoglow-Bs2 was weak and rapidly photobleached during microscopic observation. Alternatively, CpEGFP, a canonical green fluorescence protein with optimized codon usage for Clostridium species, was readily detectable in the mother-cell compartment of most bacteria at early stages of sporulation. Additionally, CpEGFP expression predicted final spore yield and was quantifiable in 96-well plates using fluorescence plate reader. These results indicate that CpEGFP can be used to analyze the sporulation of C. perfringens and has a potential application in the large-scale screening of sporulation-regulating biomolecules.