The genome and transcriptomes of the anti-tumor agent Clostridium novyi-NT

Bacteriolytic anti-cancer therapies employ attenuated bacterial strains that selectively proliferate within tumors. Clostridium novyi-NT spores represent one of the most promising of these agents, as they generate potent anti-tumor effects in experimental animals. We have determined the 2.55-Mb genomic sequence of C. novyi-NT, identifying a new type of transposition and 139 genes that do not have homologs in other bacteria. The genomic sequence was used to facilitate the detection of transcripts expressed at various stages of the life cycle of this bacterium in vitro as well as in infections of tumors in vivo. Through this analysis, we found that C. novyi-NT spores contained mRNA and that the spore transcripts were distinct from those in vegetative forms of the bacterium.