Clostridium perfringensRANK: Species
TAXONOMY: Terrabacteria group -> Firmicutes -> Clostridia -> Clostridiales -> Clostridiaceae -> Clostridium -> Clostridium perfringens
Clostridium perfringens (formerly known as C. welchii, or Bacillus welchii) is a Gram-positive, rod-shaped, anaerobic, spore-forming pathogenic bacterium of the genus Clostridium. C. perfringens is everpresent in nature and can be found as a normal component of decaying vegetation, marine sediment, the intestinal tract of humans and other vertebrates, insects, and soil. It has the shortest reported generation time of any organism at 6.3 minutes in thioglycollate medium. C. perfringens is the third most common cause of food poisoning in the United Kingdom and the United States though it can sometimes be ingested and cause no harm. Infections due to C. perfringens show evidence of tissue necrosis, bacteremia, emphysematous cholecystitis, and gas gangrene, which is also known as clostridial myonecrosis. The toxin involved in gas gangrene is known as α-toxin, which inserts into the plasma membrane of cells, producing gaps in the membrane that disrupt normal cellular function. C. perfringens can participate in polymicrobial anaerobic infections. Clostridium perfringens is commonly encountered in infections as a component of the normal flora. In this case, its role in disease is minor. Identified as constituent of vaginal microbiome. [PMID:23282177] The genome of Clostridium perfringens is 3,031,430 bp long with 2,660 open reading frames and a low G+C content of 28.6%. C. perfringens is an excellent model for genetic studies of the clostridium genus due to its oxygen tolerance and fast growth rate. The genome contains, as would be expected, the typical anaerobic fermentation enzymes leading to gas production (one of the characteristics of gas gangrene, the disease it causes), but no enzymes for the tricarboxylic acid cycle of respiratory chain.
This species has been identified as a resident in the human gastrointestinal tract based on the phylogenetic framework of its small subunit ribosomal RNA gene sequences.[PMC 4262072]