The role of flagella in Clostridium difficile pathogenicity

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Clostridium difficile is widely publicised as a problem in the health-care system. Disruption of the normal gut microbiota by antibiotic therapy allows C. difficile to colonise the colon. On colonisation, C. difficile produces two toxins that lead to disease, with symptoms ranging from mild-to-severe diarrhoea, to fulminant and often fatal pseudomembranous colitis (PMC). How C. difficile establishes initial colonisation of the host is an area of active investigation. Recently there has been increased research into the role of C. difficile flagella in colonisation and adherence. Novel research has also elucidated a more complex role of flagella in C. difficile virulence pertaining to the regulation of toxin gene expression. This review focuses on new insights into the specific role of C. difficile flagella in colonisation and toxin gene expression.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-282
Number of pages8
JournalTrends in Microbiology
Issue number5
Early online date4 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished - May 2015


  • Animals, Bacterial Adhesion, Bacterial Proteins, Bacterial Toxins, Clostridium Infections, Clostridium difficile, Enterotoxins, Flagella, Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial, Humans, Mutation, Sigma Factor, Virulence, Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't, Review