Parreira, V. R., Costa, M., Eikmeyer, F., Blom, J., Prescott, J. F. PLoS One 7: e49753.
Twenty-six isolates of Clostridium perfringens of different MLST types from chickens with necrotic enteritis (NE) (15 netB-positive) or from healthy chickens (6 netB-positive, 5 netB-negative) were found to contain 1-4 large plasmids, with most netB-positive isolates containing 3 large and variably sized plasmids which were more numerous and larger than plasmids in netB-negative isolates. NetB and cpb2 were found on different plasmids consistent with previous studies. The pathogenicity locus NELoc1, which includes netB, was largely conserved in these plasmids whereas NeLoc3, present in the cpb2 containing plasmids, was less well conserved. A netB-positive and a cpb2-positive plasmid were likely to be conjugative, and the plasmids were completely sequenced. Both plasmids possessed the intact tcp conjugative region characteristic of C. perfringens conjugative plasmids. Comparative genomic analysis of nine CpCPs, including the two plasmids described here, showed extensive gene rearrangements including pathogenicity locus and accessory gene insertions around rather than within the backbone region. The pattern that emerges from this analysis is that the major toxin-containing regions of the variety of virulence-associated CpCPs are organized as complex pathogenicity loci. How these different but related CpCPs can co-exist in the same host has been an unanswered question. Analysis of the replication-partition region of these plasmids suggests that this region controls plasmid incompatibility, and that CpCPs can be grouped into at least four incompatibility groups.