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TFPI is a colonic crypt receptor for TcdB from hypervirulent clade 2 C.difficile

Luo, J;Yang, Q;Zhang, X;Zhang, Y;Wan, L;Zhan, X;Zhou, Y;He, L;Li, D;Jin, D;Zhen, Y;Huang, J;Li, Y;Tao, L;

The emergence of hypervirulent clade 2 Clostridioides difficile is associated with severe symptoms and accounts for >20% of global infections. TcdB is a dominant virulence factor of C. difficile, and clade 2 strains exclusively express two TcdB variants (TcdB2 and TcdB4) that use unknown receptors distinct from the classic TcdB. Here, we performed CRISPR/Cas9 screens for TcdB4 and identified tissue factor pathway inhibitor (TFPI) as its receptor. Using cryo-EM, we determined a complex structure of the full-length TcdB4 with TFPI, defining a common receptor-binding region for TcdB. Residue variations within this region divide major TcdB variants into 2 classes: one recognizes Frizzled (FZD), and the other recognizes TFPI. TFPI is highly expressed in the intestinal glands, and recombinant TFPI protects the colonic epithelium from TcdB2/4. These findings establish TFPI as a colonic crypt receptor for TcdB from clade 2 C. difficile and reveal new mechanisms for CDI pathogenesis.