NanI Sialidase Contributes to the Growth and Adherence of Clostridium perfringens Type F Strain F4969 in the Presence of Adherent Mucus

Jihong Li, Mauricio A. Navarro, Francisco A. Uzal, Bruce A. McClane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Clostridium perfringens type F strains causing nonfoodborne human gastrointestinal diseases (NFD) typically produce NanI sialidase as their major secreted sialidase. Type F NFDs can persist for several weeks, indicating their pathogenesis involves intestinal colonization, including vegetative cell growth and adherence, with subsequent sporulation that fosters enterotoxin production and release. We previously reported that NanI contributes to type F NFD strain adherence and growth using Caco-2 cells. However, Caco-2 cells make minimal amounts of mucus, which is significant because the intestines are coated with adherent mucus. Therefore, it was important to assess if NanI contributes to the growth and adherence of type F NFD strains in the presence of adherent mucus. Consequently, the current study first demonstrated greater growth of nanI-carrying versus non-nanI-carrying type F strains in the presence of HT29-MTX-E12 cells, which produce an adherent mucus layer, versus their parental HT29 cells, which make minimal mucus. Demonstrating the specific importance of NanI for this effect, type F NFD strain F4969 or a complementing strain grew and adhered better than an isogenic nanI null mutant in the presence of HT29-MTX-E12 cells versus HT29 cells. Those effects involved mucus production by HT29-MTX-E12 cells since mucus reduction using N-acetyl cysteine reduced F4969 growth and adherence. Consistent with those in vitro results, NanI contributed to growth of F4969 in the mouse small intestine. By demonstrating a growth and adherence role for NanI in the presence of adherent mucus, these results further support NanI as a potential virulence factor during type F NFDs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00256-21
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Bacterial attachment
  • Bacterial growth
  • Clostridium perfringens
  • Intestinal disease
  • Mucus
  • NanI sialidase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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