Clostridium difficile in recent years has undergone rapid evolution and has emerged as a serious human pathogen. Proteomic approaches can improve the understanding of the diversity of this important pathogen, especially in comparing the adaptive ability of different C. difficile strains. In this study, TMT labeling and nanoLC-MS/MS driven proteomics were used to investigate the responses of four C. difficile strains to nutrient shift and osmotic shock. We detected 126 and 67 differentially expressed proteins in at least one strain under nutrition shift and osmotic shock, respectively. During nutrient shift, several components of the phosphotransferase system (PTS) were found to be differentially expressed, which indicated that the carbon catabolite repression (CCR) was relieved to allow the expression of enzymes and transporters responsible for the utilization of alternate carbon sources. Some classical osmotic shock associated proteins, such as GroEL, RecA, CspG, and CspF, and other stress proteins such as PurG and SerA were detected during osmotic shock. Furthermore, the recently emerged strains were found to contain a more robust gene network in response to both stress conditions. This work represents the first comparative proteomic analysis of historic and recently emerged hypervirulent C. difficile strains, complementing the previously published proteomics studies utilizing only one reference strain.
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