Clostridium perfringens is the most widely distributed pathogen, and is a cause of gas gangrene, necrotic enteritis and diarrhoea. In the January 22 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Tohru Shumizu and colleagues report the genome sequence of C. perfringens strain 13, the first Gram-positive anaerobic pathogen to be completely sequenced (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2002, 99:996-1001).

The genome is just over 3 Mb long, with a low G+C content (28.6%). They found 2660 predicted proteins, half of which could be assigned a possible function. Shumizu etal. compared the C. perfringens genome with that of C. acetobutylicum to get clues about gene function. They found genes encoding enzymes for anaerobic fermentation, glycolysis and glycogen metabolism, but none for the tricarboxylic acid cycle; they also found only a partial set of enzymes for amino-acid synthesis.

Shumizu etal. identified several virulence-associated genes including...

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