Necrotic enteritis (NE) caused by netB-positive type A Clostridium perfringens is an important bacterial disease of poultry. Through its complex regulatory system, C. perfringens orchestrates the expression of a collection of toxins and extracellular enzymes that are crucial for the development of the disease; environmental conditions play an important role in their regulation. In this study, and for the first time, global transcriptomic analysis was performed on ligated intestinal loops in chickens colonized with a netB-positive C. perfringens strain, as well as the same strain propagated in vitro under various nutritional and environmental conditions.
Analysis of the respective pathogen transcriptomes revealed up to 673 genes that were significantly expressed in vivo. Gene expression profiles in vivo were most similar to those of C. perfringens grown in nutritionally-deprived conditions.
Taken together, our results suggest a bacterial transcriptome responses to the early stages of adaptation, and colonization of, the chicken intestine. Our work also reveals how netB-positive C. perfringens reacts to different environmental conditions including those in the chicken intestine.