difficile infection due to a strain that contained Tn6164 were compared to parameters of patients that suffered from a strain that did not contain the full element. Patients with Tn6164 resembled patients without the element concerning demographic characteristics. Clinical characteristics were only known for patients from the ECDIS study  and
patients registered in the CDRL (n = 84). Patients with and without the element suffered from severe diarrhea in similar proportions. Mortality due to CDI was more common in patients infected with C. difficile::Tn6164 (29% vs 3%). This suggests that Tn6164 might convert PCR ribotype 078 strains to a more virulent strain. However, since the number of patients infected with a Tn6164-positive strain, and for which the clinical data was available, was very low (n = 7), no multivariate analysis could be performed, which means
selleck chemicals that a bias cannot be ruled out. Further research is needed to confirm a possible link between increased virulence and the presence of Tn6164. Discussion PCR ribotype 078 has recently emerged as a hypervirulent C. difficile strain [2, 3]. Previously published MLVA studies have shown that all PCR ribotype 078 strains are closely related , irrespective of human or porcine origin , Selleckchem STA-9090 fostering the notion that PCR ribotype 078 infection could be a zoonosis. Recently, the full genome sequence of a C. difficile PCR ribotype 078 strain was published . This M120 strain was shown to contain a unique insert of approximately Farnesyltransferase 100 kilobases. In this paper we show that this insert is a transposable element, Tn6164. It is not representative for all PCR ribotype 078 strains. On the contrary, we found that the majority of the PCR ribotype 078 strains do not contain the element. Moreover, some strains contain only half of the element. So, three different kinds of PCR ribotype 078 can now be distinguished: Those with a full length element, those with half the element, and those with no element at all. Tn6164 was exclusively found in tetracycline resistant PCR ribotype 078 strains, isolated from humans.
We tested a collection of other PCR ribotypes, of which none contained the element. Since we only tested 1 strain per PCR ribotype, we cannot rule out the possibility that Tn6164 is present in other PCR ribotypes. We covered the whole genomic spectrum of C. difficile since we tested multiple samples of each genetic clade previously identified [10, 33–35]. In addition, Tn6164 has not been found in any other C. difficile genome that has been published so far than M120. Although Tn6164 contained a tet(44) gene, we could not demonstrate increased tetracycline resistance of strains containing the element. Previously, it has been shown that this gene, present on a homologues resistance island, is active in C. fetus. In C.