Hierarchical recognition of amino acid co-germinants during Clostridioides difficile spore germination. Academic Article uri icon


  • Bile acids are an important signal for germination of Clostridioides difficile spores; however, the bile acid signal alone is not sufficient. Amino acids, such as glycine, are another signal necessary for germination by C.difficile spores. Prior studies on the amino acid signal required for germination have shown that there is a preference for the amino acid used as a signal for germination. Previously we found that d-alanine can function as a co-germinant for C.difficile spores at 37C but not at 25C. Here, we tested the ability of other amino acids to act as co-germinants with taurocholate (TA) at 37C and found that many amino acids previously categorized as non-co-germinants are co-germinants at 37C. Based on the EC50 values calculated for two different strains, we found that C.difficile spores recognize different amino acids with varying efficiencies. Using this data, we ranked the amino acids based on their effect on germination and found that in addition to d-alanine, other D-forms of amino acids are also used by C.difficile spores as co-germinants. Among the different types of amino acids, ones with branched chains such as valine, leucine, and isoleucine are the poorest co-germinants. However, glycine is still the most effective amino acid signal for both strains. Our results suggest that the yet-to-be-identified amino acid germinant receptor is highly promiscuous.

published proceedings

  • Anaerobe

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Shrestha, R., & Sorg, J. A.

citation count

  • 44

complete list of authors

  • Shrestha, Ritu||Sorg, Joseph A

publication date

  • January 2017