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Pathogenicity & a bedside real-time detection assay for clostridium difficile in the faeces of hospitalized patients

Joshi, Lovleen Tina 2012. Pathogenicity & a bedside real-time detection assay for clostridium difficile in the faeces of hospitalized patients. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Clostridium difficile, a Gram positive, anaerobic, spore-forming bacterium is the commonest cause of hospital acquired infection in the UK. The organism initiates infection through spore formation and attachment, germination in the gut and then the production of two potent cytotoxins; toxins A and B. While the contribution of toxins A and B to infection is beyond dispute the relative importance of each toxin is a subject of debate. Thus diagnostic assays capable of rapidly detecting the presence of both toxins are needed. To develop such an assay we first characterised the structure of C. difficile spores to better understand their role in pathogenicity and adherence to organic and inorganic surfaces. Following attachment the spore germinates and the resulting vegetative bacteria express toxins. To facilitate the development of an assay capable of detecting both toxins, we employed a bioinformatics based approach which identified highly conserved nucleotide sequences within regions of each toxin which we hypothesised were under strict selective pressure. The specificity of the probes identified was confirmed using a panel of 58 clinical C. difficile isolates, related Clostridium isolates, non-related species and human gut metagenomic DNA samples. Selected probes were incorporated into a metal enhanced fluorescent assay platform and their ability to detect the organism in various organic backgrounds was determined. We were able to detect as few as 10 bacteria in 500 μl of human faecal material within 40 seconds, suggesting that this approach has the potential to be developed into a commercial assay. To support the development of this assay we sought to develop an insect infection model using the worm Manduca sexta. Our inability to initiate infection, inspite of the fact that bioinformatic analysis revealed the presence of genes with homology to known insect virulence factors, suggests that C. difficile may have potential evolutionary association to invertebrates.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Pharmacy
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QR Microbiology
R Medicine > RB Pathology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Clostridium difficile, toxin A, toxin B, detection, real-time, faeces
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2019 03:02

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