Necrotic enteritis (NE) is caused by Clostridium perfringens bacteria. The estimated loss from NE in 2015 is approximately US$6 billion worldwide and there is an urgent need to control NE disease. Dr. Joshua Gong, a Research Scientist with Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada in Guelph and PHRN member, has taken multiple approaches to study the disease for control, including NE-related gut microbial ecology, pathogenicity of C. perfringens, and host responses to clostridial infection. His group has identified the threshold of C. perfringens population in the chicken small intestine for NE development with an experimental infection model, and changes in microbiota compositions responding to the infection. His collaborative research with Dr. John Prescott has discovered NE-associated loci and their location in plasmids (potential for horizontal transfer of virulence genes), the contribution of several fitness-related loci relating to the pathogenicity of C. perfringens, and the role of quorum sensing in regulating the production of NetB, a key toxin for NE development. His research team has also determined that both cell-mediated and antibody-mediated immune responses via MHC class I and II systems in broilers were actively involved in the host defense, in addition to innate immune responses (e.g. Toll-like receptors) to clostridial infection. Furthermore, his group is actively involved in research in developing intervention technologies. One successful example is the identification and development of encapsulated phytogenic compounds that are comparable to in-feed antibiotics in reducing NE lesions in broilers.
For more information, please refer to the publications below:
- Lepp, D., Gong, J.*, Songer, J.G., Boerlin, P., Parreira, V.R., and Prescott, J.F.* 2013. Identification of accessory genome regions in poultry Clostridium perfringens isolates carrying the netB plasmid. J. Bacteriol. 195:1152-1166.
- Lepp, D., Roxas, B., Parreira, V.R., Marri, P.R., Rosey, E.L., Gong, J., Songer, J.G., Vedantam, G., and Prescott, J.F.* 2010. Identification of novel pathogenicity loci in Clostridium perfringens strains that cause avian necrotic enteritis. PLoS ONE 5:e10795.
- Feng, Y., Gong, J.*, Yu, H., Jin, Y., Zhu, J., and Han, Y. 2010. Identification of changes in the composition of ileal bacterial microbiota of broiler chickens infected with Clostridium perfringens. Vet. Microbiol. 140:116-121.
- Sarson, A.J., Wang, Y., Kang, Z., Dowd, S.E., Lu, Y., Yu, H., Han, Y., Zhou, H.*, and Gong, J.* 2009. Gene expression profiling within the spleen of Clostridium perfringens-challenged broilers fed antibiotic-medicated and non-medicated diets. BMC Genomics 10:260.
- Si, W., Gong, J.*, Han, Y., Yu, H., Brennan, J., Zhou, H., and Chen, S. 2007. Quantification of cell proliferation and α-toxin gene expression of Clostridium perfringens in the development of necrotic enteritis in broiler chickens. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 73:7110-7113.