Rapid expansion of the physical and genetic map of the chromosome of Clostridium perfringens CPN50.
The physical map of the 3.6-megabase chromosome of Clostridium perfringens CPN50 was extended by positioning sites for the endonucleases SfiI and I-CeuI, and in parallel, the gene map was expanded by using a genome scanning strategy. This involved the cloning and sequencing of random chromosomal fragments, identification of the functions of the putative genes by database searches, and then hybridization analysis. The current gene map comprises almost 100 markers, many of which encode housekeeping functions while others are involved in sporulation or pathogenesis. Strikingly, most of the virulence genes were found to be confined to a 1,200-kb segment of the chromosome near oriC, while the pleiotropic regulatory locus, virRS, was situated toward the putative replication terminus. A comparison of the gene maps of three endospore-forming bacilli, C. perfringens, Clostridium beijerinckii, and Bacillus subtilis, revealed a similar order and distribution of key sporulation and heat shock genes which might reflect an ancient evolutionary relationship.